Jonathan: December 2007 Archives
- The entry form is here. It's on a different server to the main one (as is this blog), so you may have more luck with that direct link.
- If you have problems, drop us an email. We'll sort you out.
- If you can't enter because of a technical problem, that's clearly our fault and not yours. So long as we know you've tried, we won't be looking too closely at the 'deadline' of 4th Jan.
We’re aware of two other contests for short science films you might like to enter.
“You need to include a concise explanation of what you are filming and it should be something that can be done, in or around the home.”
Great prizes, by the way. Deadline is 31st December, with entries via YouTube.
The second contest is Sci-Film 2008, being held as part of the Wrexham Science Festival in March. As a short film festival, the prize is being selected to be shown in the festival itself; entry deadline is 15th February.
Again, films you submit to SciCast should be eligible — and if you wanted to expand on your theme they’ll allow you up to 10 minutes.
On 6th December, Richmond schools clubbed together in Twickenham for a distinctly glamorous evening to celebrate short science films they’d made, and to present awards to the best. And when we say ‘glamorous,’ we mean the whole thing — red carpet, posh frocks, dinner jackets, the Mayor, and Sir David Attenborough. Yes, you read that right. Sir David presented the awards, and chatted to the students who’d made the films.
The evening was part of Richmond’s ‘Scientific Edge’ project, a broader initiative to increase engagement in science education. The film-making part was set up by Andrew Hanson, outreach manager at the National Physical Laboratory, and — you’ve guessed it — was based on the model established by SciCast.
Nine schools took part, making I think twenty-five films, ranging from noble first efforts to spectacularly slick extravaganzas. We’ll hopefully bring you most if not all of them on SciCast, but in the meantime here are some stills from the evening. It was a wonderful night, with tremendous enthusiasm and excitement, and the council are already making plans for next year.
And for the record: we’re absolutely delighted to see SciCast used in this sort of way, and would love to see Richmond’s model repeated around the country. Expect more on this later.
There are several reasons we’re not using YouTube to publish SciCast. Chiefly that it’s blocked in many schools, which would rather limit the utility of our films, but there are issues surrounding quality too.
Quality of video playback, for one thing — we want these films to be projected on a classroom wall, and that’s hard with grainy YouTube quality. The downloads we’ll make available will be high-resolution, high-quality, and in our tests have looked terrific on big screens.
Quality of discussion is another worry. We all know the web is full of knee-jerk, intemperate comment, but even given that, does anyone else think YouTube comments are still below average?
The third issue is quality of content. We can’t rigorously vet SciCast films, and they’re not all textbook-accurate. But they’re rarely complete rubbish, and we haven’t any yet that I’d describe as ‘anti-science.’ We want SciCast to be a source you can trust to be frequently entertaining and at least mostly accurate — and with current web video, that’s unusual.
The first piece of work I’ve seen on this issue was published recently in the Journal of the American Medical Association, and it makes for alarming reading; there’s an excellent summary at Ars Technica.
There are good reasons why scientists need to be capable and effective communicators; part of SciCast’s ambition is to raise standards, and disseminate skills and best practice.
We use ClickView, a digital video library tool to share video resource across the school. Would it be OK to place your films onto our digital library once downloaded?
- You acknowledge, somewhere, the source of the material.
- You don't sell the results for a profit. Duplication and distribution costs are fine, but no sneaky worldwide broadcast with advertising!
- You make your versions available under the same terms (for example: if you hand somebody SciCast films on DVD, you don't prevent them from handing on another copy).
(And yes, we will get downloads and a podcast feed going just as soon as we can, so you can have the latest films delivered to you automatically)