If you've been paying attention at all over the last month or so, you've probably heard a bit about the Aviators and the Beeblecast. If you haven't here's a quick recap.
The Aviators are a newish volunteer group on h2g2, dedicated to taking the site forward by creating audio-visual clips – that's short films to you and I – to accompany h2g2 Entries. It's taken us a little while to get things together, but we now have our own h2g2 Aviators YouTube account and a grand total of five clips which have been created and officially accepted by the Editors. Clips take an awfully long time to make so progress is a little slow, but we're slowly getting the hang of it, and there are several more clips in production. It's an exciting time for us; we feel AV is a great addition to the site, and some of the clips we're planning will make a huge difference to the Entries they accompany.
At some point in the recent past, I decided that a Beeblecast would be a good idea. Jimster suggested the idea way back in August 2006, and the idea has moved on considerably since then. As I explained in the last Post column on the subject, a Beeblecast is a bit like a podcast, but with h2g2's unique slant. We want to create clips of the best of the community, including volunteer groups, clubs and societies, poetry, cartoons, fiction and factual writing. We're going to tie the whole thing in with a special issue of the Post, so that every clip will have a text version 'attached' to it.
That's the background. Now here's the news.
With a bit of work, we came up with a trial clip, which is available to view on my YouTube account. This shows what we're trying to do, and probably requires a little explanation.
The first clip is Bel's reading of her poem encouraging people to join in the Beeblecast. It's a fairly straightforward montage of pictures from the site put together to accompany the words of the poem. To me, this is a great way of illustrating clips without having to record full, moving AV, and all you need for this sort of clip is Windows Movie Maker, which comes installed on most new PCs.
Next is a clip based on Leo's Post article 'Getting Out Of Inboxes'. It's part-film, part-photography, and shows how we would envisage bringing a factual piece to life. Note that we don't need to AViate the whole piece; the Beeblecast is fast-moving, and we're going to cut in and out of things a lot!
Then we have a small stroke of genius; the appearance of vogonpoet in a linking clip!
Another Bel poem follows, before 2legs' tunesmithing accompanies a TonsilRevenge cartoon. Then we're into the Photographers Showcase, which shows how we'll plan to show off the best of that particular volunteer group.
Now we know it's not perfect, and there are a few warts that need sorting out. But it does give you an indication of what we're looking at producing, and it will hopefully give you a few ideas yourself. Which brings me neatly on to The Appeal…
We Need You!
Now this is all well and good, but what we really need are some submissions. We've made a start and we're kicking a number of ideas around, but we're desperate for some submissions to get working on. We know that not everyone can make AV, but we also know that there is any number of talented people out there who can write. So here's the deal.
Send us a poem, or a short story, or a cartoon, or an article on anything you like. We'll take a look and see how to AViate it. We'll make the AV for you, we'll find the photographs (with the help of the lovely Photographers), we'll even find someone to do a nice bit of narration. You'll get your clip in the Beeblecast and your article in The Post. Think of it as a kind of special offer. And if we can't AViate it for some reason, with your permission we'll send it on to The Post – nothing will be wasted!
If you do have a microphone, webcam or camcorder, you might even want to help us out by sending us the sound and/or video to accompany your piece, but that's entirely up to you.
Please send your submissions to us at h2g2aviators[at]googlemail[dot]com, or give us a shout below, and we'll get to work. We've set a provisional date of 13 March 2008, to coincide with Douglas Adams' birthday, so we really need your submissions by the end of February.
Thanks for listening.