Directors' blog

Links, thoughts and updates from the directors of Dim Sum Digital.

Archive for the ‘video’ tag

About the new video to introduce


Today saw the launch of a short video about, the community funded journalism project I’m involved in.

It’s a cheeky, light-hearted animation which hopefully explains in 45 seconds what the platform is all about.

It received its first viewing at the International Press Institute conference in Johannesburg this week where it seemed to go down well with the audience of journalism leaders from around the world. I hope you enjoy it.

The video was animated by @BennyCrime of and the illustrator was Nic Hinton of

It’s the first time I’ve been involved with the production of a piece of animation and I found it an interesting process – everything starts with then script then storyboarding in its most basic form before moving to the full hand-drawn animation.

Ben and Nic also had to work on a very tight timescale as we needed the video to be complete in time for the deadlines of the IPI event and I’m very grateful to them for pulling out all the stops. (In our haste, the mis-spelt word at the end of the piece crept in too – we’ll get onto that in due course too.)

* In a very different project, Ben and I also worked together last year on an app to create a trail of engineering points of interest in the King’s Cross area of London using the platform. That was a more traditional piece of video content involving carrying out recorded interviews which were then edited and produced for a mobile audience – more on that here.

Written by sarahhartley

January 24th, 2014 at 3:07 pm

My week: Harry Potter on Street View, council filming woes, a tale of Glossop folk and conscientious objection

leave a comment

So much of my blogging activity now takes place across other platforms that I thought I’d try to bring things together once a week. Here’s the highlights of the week that was:

Harry Potter on Google Street View
Remember this from me back in May?

Well it took a but more than a week in the end but Google put out its official press release this week and you can now read more about the Harry Potter street via Mashable and The Next Web. Hat tip again to north east-based award winning Google trusted photographer Alexander Bell @northeast360.

Glossoply, and an everyday tale of commuter folk
Some years ago I lived in the small peak district town of Glossop and became one of many Manchester commuters making the daily trek west. While at the Connected Communities Showcase in Edinburgh this week I came across this fascinating research project which is looking at how the small town is perceived by its community using a game designed on Monopoly to encourage participation. I spoke to one of he academics leading the project here.

I was there to take part in a panel discussion about hyperlocal activity in Scotland and about the work we’ve been doing on augmented reality.

Mapping the local council filming wrangles.
Over at the Talk About Local blog I’m tracking the issue of members of the public being able to film local council public meetings and building a crowdmap to show people’s experiences. Feel free to embed this into your own website or blog.

Remembering the conscientious objectors
The week started peacefully with an event to remember the Richmond 16 – a group of conscientous objectors held prisoner in my local castle during World War One. I was fortunate enough to be allowed in the heavily restricted cells to see some of the graffiti made by the men and find out more. Pictures are available from the event at Demotix raw audio interviews at Soundcloud.

Written by sarahhartley

July 7th, 2013 at 10:00 am

Presentation at Society of Editors: Being local in a mobile first world

leave a comment

I was recently invited to talk to regional editors at a Society of Editors conference held in the Midlands. It covers a couple of the major projects we’ve been working on at Talk About Local which are all about using mobile technologies to explore useful community information.

The first example is an Augmented Reality prototype we’ve been developing which means publishers of any size – from solo bloggers to news organisations – can easily move geo-tagged content into an AR environment.

The second is the ongoing evolution of the geo-tagged, mobile first suite of publishing tools n0tice and the launch of its whitelabelling service.

It’s a mark of the fast-changing pace of these sort of technologies that this slideshow was already outdated within a day of me presenting it. In terms of publishers using AR, The Independent last week launched its innovative use of the technology. Talk About Local’s William Perrin reviews that here: and in the video at the end of the page.

When it comes to the n0tice development, the day after the presentation saw a major launch for the technology when Guardian Witness went live. Obviously I couldn’t mention this to the editors at the time for risk of spoiling the announcement from Joanna the GW team, but the full details of how publishers can now use these powerful geo-tagged tools for their own products are here:

Written by sarahhartley

April 28th, 2013 at 4:40 pm

New food site, cameras at the ready

one comment

Soon to be a new entry into the crowded Manchester online entertainments scene comes Love Grub. Part of the fledgling Love Manchester site, this food news and reviews site has one major difference – it’s based around video.

Heading firmly into Manchester Confidential’s backyard, the site is looking to provide honest reviews of the city’s restaurant scene by aggregating existing food blogs, and also encouraging reviews from customers.

One half of the couple behind the move, Gary Greenwood tells me that advertisers will be offered listings information together with a short video package to show off their premises. The reviews will be kept independent from these commercial video elements.

In addition there’s to be magazine style feature video content around food in the north west produced by Gary and his partner.

Early days yes, but one to watch.

I wonder whether it will prompt a three-way advertising price war between ManConf (as it struggles to persuade the market that paywalls are the answer), and the under-populated CityLife offering from the MEN?

Written by sarahhartley

March 7th, 2010 at 2:44 pm

What impact has social media had? I asked……


At various locations in recent months I’ve been stalking online experts with my trusty Flip and asking them one question: How has social media impacted on The Media?

And here, in this short video, is what they said. Many thanks to Mercedes Bunz, Christian Payne, John Popham, Laura Oliver and Paul Bradshaw.


Written by sarahhartley

December 16th, 2009 at 10:17 pm

links for 2009-07-28

leave a comment

  • What’s Social Journalism? It’s what you do when you gather information in social media channels and then report it to your readers. Watching a Twitter #hashtag for posts related to a critical local issue or big event, then publishing them in a roundup or sidebar on your news site? That’s Social Journalism. Scanning YouTube for the latest video from a protest, county fair, or city council meeting? That’s Social Journalism.
  • We remember when having a telephone meant that mum used her special phone voice and said our own telephone number when she picked up the receiver. Calling after 6pm was cheaper and calling abroad was prohibitively expensive. We used to phone up other people’s houses and just hope they were in. Yes, really.
  • The BBC is providing a limited range of video news content to Mail Online,, and, which will supplement the newspaper websites’ own material, in four areas – UK politics, business, health and science and technology.
  • You might think a 20-page strategy a bit over the top for a tool like Twitter.

    After all, microblogging is a low-barrier to entry, low-risk and low-resource channel relative to other corporate communications overheads like a blog or printed newsletter. And the pioneers in corporate use of Twitter by central government (see No 10, CLG and FCO) all started as low-profile experiments and grew organically into what they are today.

Written by sarahhartley

July 28th, 2009 at 8:02 pm

‘Mash this!’ whispers Aunty Beeb


Chances are, you won’t have heard of R&D TV. As the name suggests, this is an experimental new programming format from the BBC where footage is supplied with the intention that you and I won’t just consume, but we will take the opportunity to create too.

As it says on the site: “The clips are raw straight from our cameras and although this may be too much for most people, it makes great footage for those who want to remix and mashup our footage with there (sic) own or others.”

Trouble is, only one such mashup has so far taken place despite worldwide access and awareness of the initiative is very limited.

Is this just early days for something ahead of the curve , or is the mighty institution smothering its fledgling participatory offering before it can get out of the nursery?

The crowd at last night’s Social Media Cafe in Manchester were in no doubt it was the latter, provoking a lively debate with the BBC’s Ian Forrester (AKA @cubicgarden).

Why couldn’t the BBC promote the new programmes through established programmes such as Click? Why wasn’t it available in iPlayer? Will it ever be shown on BBC2 – or even 3?

(As a personal aside – just look at the URL, hard to think of anything less user friendly).

Ian was able to explain many of the issues around licensing which make it difficult for R&D TV – soundtracks with music under copyright to artists for example, couldn’t be just handed out for further publication and distribution.

Fair enough points but, as several members of the audience pointed out, surely there’s content which is wholly BBC produced which could be offered up – or even specifically commissioned – if a true collaboration is going to take place?

I was left thinking that probably the highest hurdle this  brave project faces is an organisational mindset one – let’s hope that doesn’t take too long or become too distracting and good luck to Ian in pushing this on.

There’s no doubt that, while those internal bickerings take place, creative mashups will continue without any regard to licensing issues, hurt egos or approval from Aunty Beeb.


* There’s an audioBoo of reaction to the talk here.

* A FriendFeed commentary I did during the session with Ian can be seen here.

Written by sarahhartley

June 3rd, 2009 at 8:25 am

#Futr09 The journalist as games data master

leave a comment

Is the future for journalists that of data master for video games? That was the idea put forward in a session on news and gaming by the BBC’s Philip Trippenbach.

Addressing the Futuresonic conference in Manchester today, just weeks after the controversial video game based on the real Battle of Fallujah was cancelled, Philip proposed that journalists were ideally skilled to take on the tasks of selecting and curating content for a new audience.

A journalist himself, he said: “The big question for people like me is that social media is everything turning upside down. This is a big problem for journalists.

“Games like these are pointing the way, to manage all these multiple data streams, journalists as data master.

“These are the only things that journalists have left – we can look at information coming in and judge whether it’s good.”

While accepting that many people may still see the whole genre of gaming as a potentially trivialising the news agenda, he argued that the experience of gaming is essentially an educational one, giving the user pleasure in problem solving.

He showed the audience some examples of games which had proved to be both successful and tackle serious issues – Insurgency (which involved input of veteran Marines), Budget Hero – get to control the US budget and a game  in the Sim City series which has sold an amazing 46m copies.

“Is it journalism? – I don’t know but you can argue it reflects the experience of people on the ground.”

I managed to grab Philip for a very quick audio interview before he flies off to Poland which you can hear here.

Games For Good Futuresonic09

View more presentations from trippenbach.

Written by sarahhartley

May 14th, 2009 at 2:43 pm

Friday fun: Quiz Kev

leave a comment

A Manchester man has become half of the sofa surfing, problem solving duo for WKDs new interactive feature Kev ‘n’ Dave.
25-year-old ‘Kev’, Chris Wright , from Carrbrook is online to answer all those burning questions you might have of two blokes at home.
A spokeswoman for the company said: “We know that 118 is no help when it comes to those crucial conundrums that mates debate in pubs all over the country. Like, who is the fittest page 3 girl? Or, how do you do the running man and manage to retain an ounce of credibility?
“The lads will respond to your every whim, but be warned, if you want to know what Kev’s thoughts are on economic recovery he might recommend you go for a fry up, turn your phone off and go back to bed. ”
WKD is hoping this feature will set a new benchmark for interactive content. Having played around with it for five minutes, I’d say four would be sufficient to see all it has to offer but let me know what you think, after all I’m unlikely to be its target audience.
Made me think back to the old subservientchicken.
Have a good weekend!

Written by sarahhartley

April 24th, 2009 at 1:44 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , , ,

links for 2009-04-19

leave a comment

Written by sarahhartley

April 19th, 2009 at 8:01 pm