November 1, 2022
Why video and streaming?
Western culture has become more and more image- and less text-oriented – particularly the type of longer, analytical texts to which TFF as a scholarly-based research and public education foundation has always produced.
In 2003 when I returned from fact-finding missions in Iraq, I was surprised by the extent to which the world out there reacted to my photographs of people and places compared with the much more limited attention paid to my longer analytical texts.
I’ve often had students who thought I must be a very old-fashioned professor when I suggested that they read a book of 300 pages. So, I learned to suggest instead that they saw a movie or watch some videos about the book’s subject – and, quite often it turned out, they then came back to me and asked whether they could borrow the book I had suggested in the first place (those were the more intelligent and curious – intellicurious, as I call them).
I’m convinced we shall never understand complex societal issues or history and actual conflicts if we refuse to plunge ourselves into the long argument. It will lead only to intellectual disarmament and short-sighted decisions, to ignorance and peripheral status in the future multi-dimensional world order.
The – absurd – reduction of complexity into “twitter-fication” of knowledge, the popularity of secondary literature and university courses based on reading chapters here and there but not entire richly-researched books will, over time, make society post-literate and people illiterate. And that’s one of the preconditions for spreading fake, omission and propaganda – fooling people into believing in one-dimensional narratives and some Absolute Truth that doesn’t exist but serves the powers that be.
Societies that emphasise hard work and life-long building of knowledge combined with practical personal experience will win in the long run.
And we are fooled if we believe that information is everything. It isn’t. If information is not integrated with theories and concepts, with some structure that connects bits and pieces with other bits and pieces and does so over time, confusion will reign. The moment data and information stream into such structures, there is a chance to develop knowledge – structured and connected information – and from there, over time along with personal development and spiritual qualities, there is a chance to reach what would appropriately be called wisdom.
Small as TFF is and operating in the marginalised field of peace in a broad sense, we have to follow – to the best of our abilities – the opportunities that modern technology and forms of communication provide. If people read less analytical texts than before, we continue to provide them plus videos that can be supportive of the texts, introduce them in new ways, and stimulate the further search of curious minds.
Furthermore, the Corona pandemic has made all kinds of streaming and online dialogues much more natural, and I believe it is a trend that will continue to develop now. If you don’t create videos and stream your stuff, you’ll be left behind.
How we think about streaming and video – and avoid Google/Youtube censorship
Over the last few years, TFF has experimented with streaming and video production. TFF Associates have given lectures or news media comments. Thus, we have an old Youtube Channel. And we have a newer YouTube channel too. But videos of various kinds were only uploaded sporadically, and the first-mentioned was also a kind of library.
And about 11 years ago, we started the TFF Video Channel on Vimeo. But we never really promoted it because we did not have a clear policy and strategy and also not the technical skills. In addition, technology like iPhone was much less developed back then.
However, recently we’ve moved all the videos we have produced ourselves over to Vimeo. We want to avoid what is known about Google-owned YouTube – namely that it closes down whatever it doesn’t like, like for instance Russia’s RT. This is what it looks like:
Google closes down channels and sometimes huge collections of video without notice. All will be lost. Over time, I myself have been on numerous news programs after which I have uploaded them as parts of articles on The Transnational and our earlier sites, now archives. Many of them are now unavailable, just black – here is an example from our former homepage:
So, to reduce the risk that that will happen to us in the future, TFF will now be active only on Vimeo.
True, no 100% guarantee there either, but Vimeo is a much more ‘serious’ platform for the arts, culture, and dialogues and not the circus cattle market that is YouTube today. And – yes! – we are aware we’ll attract fewer viewers on Vimeo. But either you have principles and stick to them or you don’t.
Also, we know that Google has de-ranked our homepage and made it much more difficult to find TFF materials. We have written about it – documented it – here, here and here.
In other words, enough is enough.
You may read more about Vimeo here and here – and experience its portal here. In terms of the number of videos on its platform, it is among the 3-4 largest. It’s presented a series of new advanced technical features and seems now to stand on its own legs now. Practically, we know how to upload, format and present new videos and it is reasonably priced. In short, a lot speaks in favour of this choice of ours.
Technology to use – perhaps some would work for you too?
All this may not be interesting to most of our readers. But we hope that, by sharing these thoughts and explaining our choices in this new visual world, we can help others to move in a similar direction.
After all, what is the purpose of producing urgently important quality materials if they do not reach people who search for them – and how can we make them available in an easy and aesthetically pleasing way to those who do?
That said, doing it isn’t exactly an easy piece of cake when you are small and resource-poor. It requires quite a lot of time-consuming research – testing and selections – to find out what tools, platforms and technologies to choose and use, to learn those sometimes enigmatic tools and do it to such an extent that your streaming sessions and videos appear at least reasonably professional.
Our research has led us to the following choices:
Streaming platform: Ecamm Live (works only for iPhone)
Camera: iPhone enhanced with Reincubate’s Camo camera app
(If your iPhone operates on iOS16 and your Mac is running on Ventura 13.0 you may be able to use the Continuity Cam features wirelessly, but wireless connections are less stable than with a cord).
Microphone with equipment: Shure MV88+ video kit
Royalty-free music & video templates: Envato Elements and Facebook Sound Collection
That’s the basics, likely to develop to higher levels as time goes by.
As Marshall McLuhan said in 1967 – the medium is the massage – no, he did not say message. He described key points of change in how man has viewed the world and how these views were changed by the adoption of new media. Images, videos and movies influence the viewer in ways very different from the written text.
It’s an experiment – lots of trials and indeed errors. But eventually, you may expect:
• TFF Live with short, pointed comments or intros to analyses, reports and other written stuff;
• Public education videos of 30 min or so produced in a studio.
• Videos of public lectures on site.
• Interviews and dialogues among TFF Associates and others.
• Zoom events.
• Videos with comments made on international mass media.