The Experience of Film and Documentary

Many with a mobile cameraphone by Richard Vickers/ Digital Technologies, Social Media and the Emerging by Jodi Nelson/ Travelogue: the expressive potential for an A-Life filmmaker by Mark Guglielmetti/ "Its Behind You" by David Edward Hilton/ Cinema over photonic networks by jane De ALmeida
Saturday, 17 September, 2011 - 17:00 - 18:40
Chair Person: 
Alejandro Schianchi
Richard Vickers
Jodi Nelson
Mark Guglielmetti
David Hilton
Jane De Almeida

Many with a mobile cameraphone

by Richard Vickers

The author is developing a new documentary project entitled ( that will explore new opportunities for participation, collaboration and the potential democratisation of documentary production. Utilising user-generated video captured on mobile phones, the project will be participatory whereby the audience/producers contribute documentary pieces shot on mobile devices, around the theme of 24 hours in a city or location; e.g. or With reference to Dziga Vertov’s seminal 1929 documentary film ‘Man with a Movie Camera’, the films will document the cities, the people that live there and their daily lives. Moving beyond the participation model, the project will build up a database of location specific documentary material and aim to create a new system for collaborative documentary production. The project is currently in development, for ISEA 2011 I will discuss the project as a work in progress, the impact of mobile phones and the potential that these devices, Web 2.0 and social media may offer for documentary production.

Digital Technologies, Social Media and the Emerging

by Jodi Nelson

My research is being conducted through a practice-led documentary film project, web platform and published case study.  I am interested primarily in how the new paradigm shifts in digital technology and the democratization of the filmmaking process allow filmmakers to connect to an ‘expert’ global niche audience with more immediacy through the internet, engaging virtual communities, crowd funding and fan building initiatives and a variety of social media landscapes. Specifically, what access and resources are available and how to best exploit this new participatory relationship to create art? What challenges lie ahead for feminism and activism in the virtual space?

The question for [film] makers, consumers and scholars of moving images are what distinguishes documentary only from documentary made for
other channels, and whether the internet has any distinct, useful or unique characteristics that offer documentary anything more than just another means of distribution. (Birchall, p.279)

Questions being examined are; 1) How does this position the filmmaker as the ‘sole’ auteur/creator in this new method of film creation, production, distribution and financing?, 2) What are the advantages and/or the
disadvantages to this new approach?, 3) What contributions can an ‘expert’ group of virtual strangers, via a niche audience, provide to support the filmmaker and the film’s contextual goals and content?, and 4) What sacrifices must be made by the filmmaker in creating a project in this new way? 

In the film project entitled: ‘Single Girl in a Virtual World: What does a 21st Century Feminist Look Like?’ , engages a global audience of online fans, friends and followers, asking these virtual strangers to participate in the production, creation and financing of the film. Utilizing social networks, crowd funding initiatives, web blogs, viral video, second life, flash mobs, virtual chat interaction and traditional modes of documentary practice, the aim is to create a documentary film that exemplifies feminism in its profoundly new image.

Feminist documentary filmmaker, Barbara Halpern Martineau articulates…‘by
empowering ordinary people to speak as experts, they question the basic assumption of dominant ideology, that only those already in power, those who have a stake in defending the status quo, are entitled to speak as if they know something. (Juhasz, p.304)

*Please note: A slide presentation will accompany the oral presentation.

Please see the film’s trailer at:

Visit the project’s website at:

c.2010. All Rights Reserved.


Juhasz, A. (2008) ‘Documentary on YouTube: The failure of the direct cinema of slogan’ in T. Austin and W. De Jong (ed), “Rethinking Documentary”: New Perspectives, New Practices. New York, NY: University Press McGraw-Hill

Birchall, D. (2008) ‘Online Documentary’ in T. Austin and W. de Jong (ed), “Rethinking Documentary”: New Perspectives, New Practices. New York, NY: University Press McGraw-Hill Education.

Travelogue: the expressive potential for an A-Life filmmaker

by Mark Guglielmetti

The conceptual framework of Artificial Life (A-Life), and related methods, is reasonably nascent to the field of media production; it is more commonly used to model scientific schemas than employed in other forms of content creation such as games production or, particularly relevant to this paper, media art. Artists using A-Life processes draw from the broader conceptual framework of A-Life to evolve drawings, sculpture (three-dimensional digital objects) and music, the ‘classical’ arts. Little experimentation exists in A-Life screen based art with regard to film, with few artworks, if any, attempting to evolve the grammar of film and montage.

The project "Travelogue: a recording of minute expressions" explores the expressive processes of film and A-Life for the purpose of co-evolving an A-Life world with an A-Life filmmaker to evolve a documentary; a documentary of ‘interesting things’. This paper discusses "Travelogue: a recording of minute expressions" with particular focus on the relationship between A-Life and film and the potential to co-evolve an A-Life filmmaker. In this discussion the paper examines the potential to expand both the grammar of film and A-Life to evolve a new visual syntax and to create new logics for transitions and alternative visual/thematic analogies.

"Its Behind You"

by David Edward Hilton

During September 2010 ICCI (Innovation for the Creative and Cultural Industries) University of Plymouth, UK, organised a 360ْ film, arts and performance festival in Plymouth city centre. The festival was the first of a series that revive the popular nineteenth century tradition of touring panoramas here employing digital formats on a six metre high by twenty metre diameter (62 metre length) projection screen, housed within a demountable dome structure. Using the festival as a case study, this paper reflects on the parameters for and the processes involved in the preparation of creative content for the festival, particularly focusing on the issues and concerns pertinent to 360ْ film making, reviewing the display and presentation of film in the festival’s dome auditorium.

Early panoramic paintings relied heavily on the inclusion of architectural structures, either ‘faux terrain’ or painted, to ‘frame’ the images they depicted. One of the most dramatic adjustments that need to be considered when producing or for that matter experiencing 360° cinema is the idea that, although one is working with a much wider frame, the viewer is not able to see and experience everything at any one time.  While, particularly for a standing audience, there is the opportunity to move one’s eyes, head and body to experience the complete screen, the viewer, schooled for many years of image consumption through various sizes of flat screens and by every filmic example previously experienced holds onto screen mentality and may struggle to reduce the screen horizon into a watchable frame, unfortunately, in doing so elements of the presentation may go unseen behind the viewer.

The paper also identifies a number of factors relating to the audience experience of 360ْ content and how the particular spatial and visual environment affects both the production and experience of work and how these factors might be understood.

Cinema over photonic networks

by Jane De Almeida

The paper will discuss the transmission of super-high definition motion pictures as the next step of cinematic transformation, following sound, color and the digital age. It will also report experiments conducted over the GLIF (Global Lambda Integrated Facility) network, a scientific and experimental research network formed at the FILE and describe the Cinegrid workshop and its similarities to the old technology fairs in Europe, where mareoramas, paneoramas, keiseoramas etc. were exhibited; addressing the similarities between pre-cinema and post-cinema technology. It will reflect on the possibilities of live cinema with festivals being held in several different countries and regions, concerts and shows in public places, integrating different communities and reconfiguring the public domain. Other relations, such as the participative spectator, the collaborative aspect, the challenge of interdisciplinary work between artists, physicists and engineers, as well as the desire for the globalization of cinema since its birth will also be discussed. And, finally, explain the Project 2014K and what results are expected.