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the day we started streaming live!

At Itaka Media, the client is king, if the client asks for a livestream... we deliver! in that particular case, it was the last Brussels conference of the Estonian Presidency of the EU in partnership with the think-tank CEPS (see the intro video I did here). For the Estonians, the livestream was super important as they branded their presidency as the Digital Presidency and did a lot of livestream during their presidency especially in when events were taking place in Estonia. The event was a full day and we were requested to stream all the plenary sessions that represents more or less half of the day. 

For us, livestream was not exactly new as we did some tests here and there and delivered some livestream in addition to some services. For instance we did a livestream for an overbooked conference in Brussels but for many reasons it was complicated and not 100% satisfactory (link to the livestream changed in Youtube at the last moment and we had to tell the client during the steam :-) )

So the challenge was pretty high for us but you always have to start somewhere with these things. In the end, all went super well and the client was over the moon. The screen shot below shows that during the livestream of the event we reached over 15000 people and we had very often over 200 people watching even more in the beginning when big VIPs where there.   

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Here are some take-aways from that experience: 

-Know your software: The client was using a Livestream.com account they opened to us. The platform is great and the software is really powerful... but it runs on PCs only! We discovered that 2 days before the event... Time to rent a proper PC and make all the test we were ready on the D-day :-)

-Get a dedicated internet connection: Together with the client we asked for a special LAN cable that would provide us a good and stable internet connection. We did some test the day before on the spot and all worked fine. We would have use the wi-fi nothing would have worked properly and the livestream would not have worked. 

-Get someone dedicated to the livestream: It is technical, it is computer intensive, many things can go wrong... so for these kind of big events, better have someone fully dedicated to that that knows what to do in case of problem. For instance, at one point after 2 hours of stream, a break happened in the stream. Alessio was there to reboot everything and the interruption was less than a minute.  

 

In conclusion, livestreaming has a great multiplying effect potential when used well (especially with Facebook). In order to get that, it needs some careful preparation and at Itaka Media we are ready for it!  

 

 

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Video tweets at event put to a level with subtitles

Last year, we did some videos during an event and prepared them especially to be put on twitter during the event. In order to look professional and have a proper sound we did no use phones but a proper camera hooked to the sound table.

The process is the following: you need to film the event in continuous, when one of the speaker says something you like, you stop the camera, take the SD card, edit the video with an intro, name tag and outro and then publish on twitter immedialtly.  It is not simple but if you are well prepared and keep concentrate that works really well and we managed to get about 10 video tweets. Together with other tweets, the # of the event was trending that day! 

This year, we did the same but put it to an all new level adding subtiles :-) Indeed at an event, people are not listening to videos when they look at twitter and subtitles are making the difference. The process is the same, but during the edit we took some time to add subtitles manually to the video. It requires a good preparation and 2 persons as you always need a second eye for subtitles. But the result was really good and up to our expectations. Again the # of the event was trending and videos helped a lot but that time we are almost sure people knew what the videos were about :-)

Below, some of the tweets we publised: 

 

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Support Syrian refugiees in Brussels

This is a video I did for the NGO #WeExist, a project aiming at creating  jobs for Syrian refugees. They cook and serve Syrian food every Monday. They approached me for a promotion video and I was really happy to help!   

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Thumbs up for the Digital Single Market

A really interesting project I did for the CCIA regarding the review of the digital single market. It was great fun to put together all these short interviews and give them life with thumbs up and down. The video had a really excellent audience on Facebook and Linkedin because it was timely and the content was relevant! looking forward to do more videos in that style!

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Video for WSBI

This a new project I am working on with the WSBI (representing the saving banks all over the world) where we will have have regular videos about the transformation of the banking sector all over the world. It was a lots of preparation from both sides but the filming went very very smoothly. We used a prompter to ease the reading of the text and  3 lights to ensure a professional look. Looking forward to shoot episode 2.

WSBI Exchange, episode #1, May 2017 talks about new data from WSBI that shows how innovation is leading the way in addressing financial inclusion.

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Thinking about clean energy

Google Brussels hired me to cover an event they organised about clean energy. Strange at first to think that Google has something to do with energy... but in fact, I understood that clean energy is super high tech (even renewables) and when there is tech, of course there is Google :-) 

Great fun working is such a relaxed atmosphere and film about really interesting topics. 

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Study Visit to the Silicon Valley of Members of the European Parliament

With more than 20 visits in 4 days, it was a marathon the MEPs have been running in the Silicon Valley but is was worth to understand what makes that place so special! Below in the highlight clip I produced, and here the other videos including a daily blog. 

This summer a delegation of 15 Members of the European Parliament* went on a tour of Silicon Valley (18-21/07/16) organised by the European Internet Forum (EIF) and EU40 under the title 'ICT Innovation & Entrepreneurship: the Road to the Valley'. In this video MEPs share the key learning points they are bringing back to Europe.

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Workshop on sexual health in humanitarian emergencies

A very interesting workshop with a lot of very intense content! The challenge was to summarise all the excellent testimonials into a video that could be seen by people that could not attend the workshop. Judging by the number of views on the original video, it seems we reach that goal and further :-)

'Sex does not stop in humanitarian emergencies! In fact, it is when people have lost everything that they turn to one another'. This EuroNGOs workshop on advocacy for Sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) in humanitarian response is a great experience sharing about the challenges arising from humanitarian crisis.

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Revolution on wheels

Great filming this event about automated cars... and of course I had a chance to enter the back of the car and then it started driving automatically :-) 

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Match Making of Innovative Businesses

Great filming for the Vanguard Initiative and asking participants of the match making event why they came to the event ... in ONE word? Answers are really diverse and reflects well the energy of the day!  

Short videos like that are a great way to give a flavour of an event and show the diversity of the participants.

 

On February the 25th 2016 the Vanguard Initiative hosted a match-making event where over 400 participants, company-representatives and industrial experts, met to discuss industrial challenges and how to solve them through cooperation in Vanguard Initiative pilot projects. The event was made possible by a grant from the European Commission.

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A lot can happen in a year!

That is the moto of this video I did for ILGA-Europe for their annual conference. Quite a fun project, with a lot of information to put together in an entertaining but informative way. Last but not least, the team there is fantastic and great fun to work with! 

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A solution for Syria?

A very interesting conference organised by the ALDE group in the EP about countering extremism in the Mediterranean region (programme here) with a focus on Syria. Many ideas were discussed on how to stop the war in Syria and defeat ISIS. The path seems long and difficult. 

The ALDE Group in the European Parliament hosted on 18 November a conference focused on countering extremism and improving governance in the MENA Region. To know more visit: http://www.alde.eu/nc/press/press-and-release-news/press-release/article/syrian-conflict-needs-a-long-term-solution-and-national-syrian-coalition-must-be-part-of-it-46360/

And I was lucky to have a picture taken while interviewing the MEP Marietje Schaake :-) 


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First thoughts on 360 pictures and (even better) 360 videos

***DISCLAIMER: Please read this post with Google Chrome otherwise not everything will work as it should ****

This has been my new obsession for the last 6 months and it is growing and growing everyday!

So when I received the Ricoh Theta S last month I have been testing and testing. Here are my first thoughts on 360 pictures and even better 360 videos:  The Theata S is one of the best camera to start with 360 pictures and 360 videos. It is relatively easy to use and you can show the result almost immediately. The result is always the same: Wowww!  

Below a picture I took at an event of 9 to 10 people where the organiser always takes a selfie with the participants. I was giving a short introduction to Virtual Reality after the picture and used this picture to start my presentation... effect was indeed Woww :-) 

Post from RICOH THETA. - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA

After the picture, I made a short introduction Virtual Reality using the Google Cardboard. For most of participants it was a first time testing VR and the reaction was always very enthusiastic. 

At the same time I was filming with the Theta S. The video below is my 360 video about Virtual reality. It works on computers but of course it is even better on phones and even even better on a phone using the cardboard. 

First take aways after that event are: 

-The 'Woww effect' is almost certain with 360 pictures and 360 videos

-360 pictures are working almost immediately on the phone and the stitching is excellent. If uploaded on the Theta server, they can be shared really quick via email or Facebook

-360 videos are more tricky: Apparently it is a big improvement compare to the previous model of Theta but despite that the quality is nor completely satisfying.  There might be some settings to play with or use more lights. Sound is not good, I had an external sound recorder for that experiment. Editing is relatively straightforward once you understand and follow the various steps. At least it is much easier than using several Gopros and doing the stitching afterwards. 

-Once you have the video, uploading on Youtube is relatively easy, you need to 'inject' a code in the file so Youtube identify the file as being 360. Watching on Youtube is OK on a computer, you can play with the little arrow on the top left corner and move in the image. But the best experience is with the phone and even better with the phone and the cardboard. On that respect, Youtube is incredibly reliable and works fantastically.  

-Last but not least, once the picture (or the video) is done, there is a all range of fun stuff to do such as the 'tiny planet' effect below. It is a really cool and funny effect that has also a Woww effect! 

In conclusion, it seems like it is only the beginning with 360 pictures and 360 videos and there are plenty of really cool stuff to discover.

Stay tune, I will continue to explore!

 

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Question to Mr Juncker

An interesting little experiment we did at a conference asking to all interviewees the same 'fun' question at the end of the interview: what will you tell Mr Juncker if you were in an elevator with him? Inspiration came from a video from the NHS asking participants what animal would be the NHS (video is here). 

The client and I were very happy about the energy of this video, but also about the some elements of substance. An experiment that I will continue! 

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Surfing the internet safely for people with intellectual disability

For that project I used a tool called videoscribe that is making some really engaging animations as you tend to follow the hand that is drawing or writing the text. It is also mixing really well with videos. Last but not least, working with people with intellectual disability is a very enriching experience. 

Below it is the original version I created in French and the English version I did later. There is also an Italian, Polish and Spanish versions.

SafeSurfing est un projet sur deux ans qui a pour but de former les personnes en situation de handicap intellectuel à l'utilisation sécurisée d'internet afin qu'elles puissent protéger leurs données à caractère personnel et leur vie privée.

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3 things I understood shooting with a drone

This summer I had the chance to test shooting with a drone. It was the Parrot AR2 of a friend that got it second hand for a very good price. As I always wanted to test these and I was super happy of the opportunity, here are the 3 things I got from it:

1-Flying is piece of cake as long as....

Flying is all automatised! you use an app on your phone and connect to the drone via wifi, super easy! Then you have a button to 'take off' and this button changes into 'landing' when you are flying. If you feel you are loosing control... just land. All the rest is kind of intuitive and requires some practice but after several tests you gain confidence and make progress. After 3 or 4 tests I even did a loop with the drone and my sister in law almost fainted :-) Of course accidents are happening all the time: going on a tree, going too fast and feeling you are loosing it and going to the neighbour garden... all that is possible and mainly due to the wind. 

2-Filming from a drone is a great

The type of shoots you get from a drone are just amazing. Just with the limited tests I did this summer, I could film from a completely different perspective. Being above people, trees, houses (...) gives power to a scene. Camera moves are also super nice and very powerful. 

3-Not for everyday shoots but always an option

Now my conclusion is clear, drones are not for every projects but if there is a need, a client requirement, a great opportunity, it is on my catalog. I will probably need one or two days of preparation in order to get use to piloting the drone again but other than that, no more fear! I think for professional use it is worth going for very good drones such as DJI phantoms where you can have a gopro or at least a good HD cameras. The one I had was a bit on the edge on that respect but on the other hand, I was recording directly on the phone while I was piloting :-) 

Below the short movie I did with the shoots I did during the test. Hopefully, many more to come! 

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Honey honey honey!

I love honey! and fresh honey is the best! I had a chance to follow my father in law picking the honey from his hives and made a small movie about it. 

My father in law, Dimitris, has several hives in Kastro and produces a great honey we are eating all year long. He took me for the harvest on a early day of August, before it go too hot. The day after we extracted the honey and had several kilos of delicious honey!

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