Filming the Unfilmable: The Role of Live Broadcast in Outdoor Work

Digital

Panel discussion to stimulate conversation in the sector about incorporating live broadcasting and outdoor shows

Is it possible to capture the essence of live outdoor events, and offer an opportunity for people to see live performances without having to travel? How can we replicate the excitement of feeling part of a collective event, often combined with the pride of seeing performances in the context of our own towns or cities? Can we ensure that the quality of an outdoor performance is not lost? Is show scale an unavoidable factor when selecting the content to be filmed?   

In July 2019, Without Walls brought together a group of specialists who have incorporated live broadcast of outdoor performance into their work: as artists, directors, organisers or broadcasters to share expertise and advance the discussion of the role of live broadcast in the outdoor arts.

The panel discussion was chaired by Lina Johansson, Co-Founder and Co-Artistic Director of the female-led acrobatic theatre company Mimbre.

 Speakers:

  • Martin Green – currently Birmingham 2022 Chief Creative Officer, previously Chief Executive for Hull City of Culture and Head of Ceremonies for London 2012
  • Tim Dollimore – Managing Director at The Media Workshop
  • Janie Valentine – Freelance Producer at The Space
  • Kevin Finnan MBE – Artistic Director at Motionhouse
  1. All panellists are excited about the potential of Live Broadcast within Outdoor Arts
  2. The concept is very much in its infancy, with the panellists agreeing that the techniques and methods aren’t quite there yet
  3. All panellists highlight the difference between making work specifically FOR broadcast and that it’s not a case of ‘point and shoot’. Ask what can the camera add to make the work exciting?
  4. Advise artists who are thinking of creating work for live streaming: What will it add to the work? Is it necessary? Have you thought about working with a professional live production team?
  5. If you want to stream shows that are made for outdoors without consideration for broadcast, you have to be aware of how the person streaming the piece will portray the work. Understand that there will be a different but still-meaningful audience connection through broadcast compared to a live crowd
  6. All panellists stress the importance of working collaboratively with whoever is directing the piece for broadcast. It needs to be integrated throughout the whole process, not just an add-on
  7. Live broadcasting ‘properly’ is expensive, with alternatives such as Facebook Live Streaming suffering from quality and connectivity issues. The panellists do note that the cost will drop as the tech is refined
  8. All the panellists support live broadcasting because if the accessibility it offers. It can deepen reach with people that would never usually engage with the arts
  9. There are lots of extra tech to consider when devising a piece that will be filmed: lighting and sound are key aspects that are often overlooked and working with a specialist team is advised
  10. Content and quality are key to grabbing the audience’s attention: you have a 30-second window to reel them in

"The language for live TV & film is there, the language for live events is there but we are not quite there yet with the language for live art events, and that this needs some discussion.”

Tim Dollimore, The Media Workshop

"There are so many ways in which you can ‘self-publish’ these days, but it’s no use having content if people don’t know about it and see it. You have to know who your audience is, where you can reach them and tell them about the content."

Janie Valentine, The Space


Live Broadcast panel discussion session notes