Chapter13

Organising a video screening#

To Update

- again language a bit activisty - tech examples are very dated, to update

Did youtube take down your video, yet another TV channel refused to broadcast a powerful documentary about deaths in police custody, the makers used a video projector. Using the outer walls of the Channel 4 building as a screen, 'Injustice' was screened to hundreds of reporters. A documentary was made about the most notorious court case in British history against the McDonalds Corporation. However it never made it to British TV but thanks to the invention of the video projector, McLibel has been screened in thousands of places. There is nothing stopping us from taking back the airwaves!

What do I need?

Ask around local community resource facilities and activist networks first before buying new equipment. The list can shrink or expand according to your budget, but the items below are essential for a stressfree screening: laptop or DVD player, Large Computer screen or video projector with white screen or a large white sheet. Audio amplifier and speakers Connecting cables and mains extensions Blackout material Smartphone/stills/video Camera for reporting on the screening

If your screening is for less than 30 people use a large (26 inch or bigger) LCD screen, as this can be easer than using a video projector. Put the Screen at 5ft high so that people's heads (and big hair) at the front don't spoil the show for those behind. You can also have two Screen in the middle of the room with audience both side and a cable that splits the signal and delivers the same image to both Screens at the same time.

Video Projectors (review the projectors' tech)

If your screening is for more than 30 people, you will need a video projector. Models range from the very small to the very large (and expensive), Most nowadays are powerful enough for your needs.

Video on laptop If you're video is on a file, just plug a VGA or HDMI cable to the video projector and select your computer as the source. Usually most recent hardware will automatically display the PC feed on the projector, if it dosent work strateway re-set your computer, it will probably work then. If it's not the case, usually the keys Function + F7 will prompt the display settings. You could also directly stream a film from a video host (Youtube, Vimeo) but it's safer to download the film first in case your Internet is not reliable. You can use www.keepvid.com in that effect: just copy paste the video link there and the site will offer to download it for you.

Audio amps and speakers

Its best to amplify the sound, Big computer speakers are probably the best bet, for screenings of up to 30 people a domestic hi-fi amp and speakers is fine. Due to the amount of dialogue on each video, sound quality is very important and domestic systems are far superior to guitar amps or combos. With audiences of more than 30 it is worth getting hold of a small PA amp and speakers. 100 Watts should be large enough for crowds of up to 50, but you need something with more oomph for bigger audiences.

Cabling/connecting up your kit: The best way to avoid problems is to have a trial run the day beforehand. There is nothing worse than trying to sort out any technical problems with an audience waiting for the show to get going! If you want to be sure of covering every possible system it is worth investing in a few assorted adapters. There are kits available in video shops, which enable you to convert every conceivable type of audio and video connector into the desired plug, and these are worth the money. You can screen from a PC by hooking up a standard data cable from the PC to the video projector. Sound will be connected to the amplifier. Projector Screen: A king-size white sheet is great as a basic screen (remember pegs, tacks or pins to hang it with and iron it smooth for better picture quality). Proper projection screen material is expensive, but does make the image 20% brighter. If you have a budget, Fast-Fold screens from commercial hire facilities are great. Old cineprojector screens with tripod legs are popular and cheap as well.

Black-out: The venue needs to be as light tight as you can make it. Many video projectors are useless in a day-lit space. Blackout felt material borrowed from a theatre is ideal, but otherwise thick club backdrops will do or as a last resort use black bin-liners. Checklist:

1) Find a space. This can be in a community hall, a pub, in woods, a cinema or a front room. For atmosphere, it is better to fill a small room than to have a large room half empty.

2) Determine event name and write a one-paragraph description of it. This will focus your thoughts. visionOntv, NewsReal, Wild spaces, Reel Madness, Global Insights, and Undercurrents, are some popular event names.

3) Consider the following: - who will your audience be - the general public or a specific community? - what kinds of videos and issues will you be presenting? - will there be other entertainment (music, poetry, dance, etc.) or speakers?

4) Advertising is vital. Plan two weeks ahead and get the screening listed in music and free information sheets. Write a press release and try to get local radio stations and newspapers interested. Design and photocopy A4 posters or bigger and place them all around cafes, bookstores, community centres and health food stores.

5) Create a program and stick to it. A printed program will help the audience navigate its way through the various videos and you can add campaign contacts. If possible create a 2 minute opening sequence, which can be a montage of images to music ending in the name of the event. It is useful to start with a few short (1-5 minute) funny or light videos before you begin the main feature. This allows the audience to settle down. Ensure that you have lined up all the videos in advance and plan for a maximum of 90 minutes as people switch off beyond that.

6) Will there be a Master/Mistress of Ceremonies (MC)? It's always good to have someone introduce the screening that can also encourage discussion and guide people towards supporting actions etc. after they leave your show.

7) Prepare a table of flyers and info sheets for upcoming events and related issues to hand out to people as they come in or to pass around during the MC's introductions. The audience will enjoy it more if they can interact rather than just sitting there in the darkness and then going home. You could even have a questionnaire to hand out asking the audience to comment on each video. This will help you decide what works and what doesn't for future shows.

8) Enjoy yourself and congratulate yourself on taking direct action!

For the latest alternative news videos and screening events check out http://visionon.tv Written by visionontv, Undercurrents.

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