Saturday, September 29, 2007

Europrix Top Talent Award Jury 2007 (3)

The weather had really changed today from blustery rain to sunshine. It was great to await the cab to transfer the jury members from the hotel to ICNM HQ. Coffee and tea was awaiting us as well as the sweet left –overs of yesterday. It was a surprise to see the bio diesel car of Stanislav Miler, having returned from Croatia.

But duty called and today we had to fight ourselves through the shortlist of the eight categories, with at least three to five or more entries per category. But the jury members were very wise and efficient in the process. We started with the category Mobile. I had expected a lot of this category for the educational sector. Two years ago micro-learning was a big hype. This time we had two entries from educational projects. One was an application for learning languages like English and German by mobile phone for Chinese students; but the project was not selected as a nomination due to the difficult interface. Another mobile educational project did not make it to the nominations either. The project was concerned with teaching physics. High school students would take pictures of experiments and upload them to the server for class distribution. Students could add their comments to the photographs.

I was very happy to see in the category content tools an innovation in journalism and/or broadcast. Since 1980 BBC has been retyping the scripts of BBC World broadcasts and storing them in the computers of the former host Datasolve. These days broadcast companies chunk up videos of (news) shows, distil a picture out of the video, put the text next to it, whether it is the already typed translation or the speech to text converted type text and put it in a database, including the video. But that is not all. It is gong further these days. The text automatically links to the Wikipedia and the text is sent by e-mail to bloggers and forums. In this way broadcast companies are assuring themselves that they are not misquoted. This type of activity is called micro-chuncking.

By the time we had the first coffee break we were still on schedule but still had six categories to go. I saw a nice interactive installation which could be used for the Dutch SBS program Domino Day. On a table you could draw the patterns to be set up. And I saw a beautiful children’s’ project with interactive graphics. But on the other hand a social statement was made with digital media against the state watching you. In the category of interactive installation there were surprisingly two planetarium entries. One was in the entertainment atmosphere, while the other one was in the field of dance.

But we looked also at a category which had the highest number of entries last year, but had this year a meagre six entries; not much to choose from and the quality left to be desired. The question I ask myself: is this a trend. When the Europrix started in 1998 this category of CD-ROM and DVD was an absolute favourite. Broadband had not arrived yet; so multimedia productions were stored on a disc. But the change from CD-ROM to DVD-ROM was a hefty one. It looks like CD-ROM was more flexible than the DVD. Over against the many beautiful CD-ROM productions like a Ceremony of Innocence and an Anne Frank, a House with a Story, I saw hardly any mentionable production, except for a French product about a standard work on gender.

By seven o’clock we were done and had a beautiful sushi meal. It was a replacement for a meal was planned in the mountains. I have been at the restaurant before and it gives a beautiful sight on the river Salze and Salzburg. But as there were more matters to be treated, this trip was sadly cancelled and the meal replaced by sushi. One of the reasons was also the departure of many a juror by Sunday morning. Just to give you an example, flying from Salzburg to Amsterdam in the afternoon would have cost the organisation 200 euro more.

By the end of the day Stanislav came to ask Cai and me for interviews. Of the jury we are old hands, veterans in new media. Cai has been involved in the Europrix from the second year onwards, while I have been involved from the start. It has given us both a large European network.

Blog Posting Number: 880

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