Camp for Climate Action 2008 Media

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What's Planned This Year

Basically it's all the stuff expected from an Independent Media Centre, along with the facilities required by the media team to liaise with the main stream media. Provision includes an open access internet suite, space and facilities for audio and video editing, photo desk, reporting lines, camp radio, collection of daily newspapers etc.

Reception Area

In an attempt to address concern about previous years, there will be a reception area with somebody there on rota to greet people, find out what they want and advise them who to see, where to go or when to come back. This reception applies equally to the mainstream journalists on site needing help arranging interviews, people involved in alt media projects or individuals looking to check something online or upload photos.

'Staffed' Photo Desk

Located near reception, a dedicated computer will be set up and staffed at specific times to ensure quick and efficient processing of people photos (although in theory it is possible for people to use the thin clients terminals to do this). The photo desk will be equipped with a card reader, bluetooth and other usb adapters to connect to mobile phones etc. Photos will be stored centrally (see network attached storage) and metadata/details taken from the contributor to ensure things credit and licensing conditions are retained with the images. Throughout the day, somebody will check contributions and select some suitable for uploading.

Studio Spaces

Camp Radio

There will be a radio studio producing daily live and recorded content, streamed on the internet and broadcast throughout the camp so that people in neighborhoods can stay informed. The camp radio will operate from a separate tent adjacent to the main media tent. It will be used for live shows, editing and as a space for people to record audio interviews at other times.

Video Studio

The video studio will also be a separate tent close to the main media tent. It will be used for interviews to camera and perhaps also by people doing video editing at other times.

The plan is to run three cameras through a video mixing desk with the output captured directly onto hard drive. The aim will be a fast throughput of people being interviewed throughout the day and the use of real-time mixing between cameras will reduce the need to edit with just topping and tailing left to do.

Due to power constraints, people editing video on their own laptops may be restricted in terms of time to ensure sufficient power for other users.

The other relevant constraint is bandwidth and data capping so it is possible that if the video people want to produce huge hi res output then they will have to upload off site.

Open Access Internet Suite

Something like eight computers will be set up for general web access use. Although this is a thin client system designed to consume relatively low power, it will still be necessary to restrict opening times to specific time slots depending on the power situation. Times will be advertised on a notice by the entrance. The space is intended for people writing reports and other uses will be discouraged if necessary.

Infrastructure Planning

Marquee Spaces

The original plan was to bring things together as much as possible for things are better integrated, less complicated and prevent the geeks from hiding away in private spaces while the proles thrash about unsupervised on the public terminal checking their hotmail.

With this in mind we spoke about having a single large public space sufficient the house all or most of the following:

  • public internet space
  • photo/video/news desk for grass roots media groups
  • contact point for camp media
  • meeting space / daily news papers

However it now appears that there is a need/desire to separate things off to some degree and now we seem to have loads of separate structures, even more complicated than last year!!

Camp structures group have agreed to supply the following:

  • Offsite structure: Gazeebo (for mainstream media to shoot from if raining etc)
  • Main Structure 30ft x 45ft ("bigger than what I promised you: aren't you lucky!")
  • Video Studio: 12ft x 24ft

Additionally we have two 12ft x 24ft (6m x 4m) 'party' tents, one of which will be the radio studio...

  • Radio Studio: 12ft x 24ft

The other could be a private area for meetings, workshops, interviews, or sleeping place, kitchen and place to get pissed. Alternatively it could a media liaison 'lounge' (a kind of reception space I guess, to meet journalists and reduce the chance of them wandering around our working spaces)

I (ben) am now of the opinion that we have too much space and that if we aren't careful we will end up with the same issues as last year. I therefore think we need to design our spaces around the single public entry point, perhaps a triangle or quadrangle of marquees around a central enclosed 'court yard'.

In terms of distinct roles/spaces.

  • web suite : photo desk : news desk : reception
  • radio
  • video
  • court yard (good place to have discussions/workshops if weather nice)

Internet Connectivity

Internet is to be provided by two way Satellite (supplied by from psand) and supplemented if possible by a 3G router (using three or t-mobile pay-as-you-go).

If 3G works on site, we can load balance between the two connections during the day. During the night and periods of low use, we can shut off the satellite in order to save power (~70 watts) as the 3G router uses much less (about 15 watts).

Transfer Speed

  • Downlink from the satellite is 2 mbp/s and uplink 512 kbp/s.
  • The 3G is very variable and depends on signal strength so it is impossible to guess what bandwidth will be available, if any. Needless to say, the figures quoted by the mobile companies are meaningless and never achieved. My experience, on a good day, is about 800 kbp/s down and 40 kbp/s up.

Transfer Cap

3G connectivity is capped but if either of the two PAYG 3G networks are available on site then we won't worry about the cap, we'll just switch sims or buy more credit (as cheap as £5 for 2gb on Three.

I'm not sure if the satellite is capped. Last year there were two, one capped and the other not.

We may need to 'queue' big uploads like video files for the over night shift to avoid interfering with other users, or send them off site with somebody to upload on an ADSL link.

Power Requirements

Previous years have proved that this space is by far the single biggest user of power on site.

This year we estimate the space will consume between 85w and 900 watts of power at any given time.

Bristol Wireless say that a dozen thin clients working hard, plus the ltsp server, a switch and the psu's, would all draw under 240 watts in total. That's a third or perhaps even a quarter of the power per client compared to a modern hi spec laptop. People should be encouraged to use thin clients rather than powerful laptops when possible and practical. Just four people using their own laptops could equal the entire demand of the thin client suite and server.

We should try to arrange our peak load to match our peak delivery of power, ie. assuming it's sunny, peak should happen around 1pm to 4pm. We should also try to stagger and prioritize different uses. For example, not have the open access suite in use when the live radio show is being broadcast as this not only means less noise and disturbance for them but also means they are a lot less likely to find the power going too low and disrupting the show.

We should be very carefully about agreeing to charge peoples devices unless there really is power to burn.

The power working group should be included in the loop on this.

Note: I'm trying to do more useful and accurate power consumption estimate with time as well as just power, here...

Workshops & Training

Workshops will be run daily in the media space on the days of the 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th.

These include the media training workshops run by the media team.

The official programme has been published and can be downloaded and printed out at

Workshop Times

(some are run simultaneously hence a,b,c )

  • 4th Monday
10:30 - 11:30 
a) Security, privacy and encryption.
12:00 - 13:00
a) Reassessing our approach to media 
  • 5th Tuesday
10:30 - 11:30 
a) 112 volt and renewables workshop/walkabout
b) Meet up for Video activists
c) Meet up for Photographers
12.00 - 13:00 
a) Phones as tools for change
b) Meet up for radio media activists
  • 6th Wednesday
10:30 - 11:30 
a) Content of media - what we want
12.00 - 13:00 
14:00 - 15:00
a) Radio workshop
  • 7th Thursday
10:30 - 11:30 
a) Taking, editing & publishing better direct action photographs
12.00 - 13:00 

  • 8th Friday
10:30 - 11:30 
a) Pre action day video activist meet up
b) Putting your Media online 
12.00 - 13:00 
a) Alternative Media Distribution Channels

Workshop Descriptions

Security, privacy and encryption

Facilitator: Mike Harris

Length: 60 mins

Description: a workshop to cover concepts such as computer security, logins, passwords, mailing lists, wikis and forums, what is and isn't private, how to encrypt your data using GNU Privacy Guard (GPG), secure connections using ssh and SSL. Will focus on Linux, but also consider Windows and Mac.

Reassessing our approach to media

Facilitator: Ben

Length: 60 mins

Reassessing alternative media and activist relations with the mainstream - our goals and how well we've achieved them.

12 volt and renewables workshop/walkabout

Facilitator: Ray-Mundo

Length: 1 hour approx

Description: Ray will talk about solar panels, wind generators, different types of batteries, accessories, strategies for getting the charge-storage-usage equation right (e.g. how many panels, how many batteries, how much supply for how long). This workshop may well involve a short introduction at the Be The Media tent followed by a walkaround site to look at the various installations from a practical viewpoint.

Phones as tools for change

Facilitator: Ben

Length: 60 mins

Mobile phones as a reporting, organising and communication tool, including SMS, and asterisk automated voice systems.

Content of media - what we want

Facilitator: Ben

Length: 60 - 90 mins

Content issues - spectacle, conflict and binary reporting in alt media vs depth, document ion, issues and solutions

Taking, editing & publishing better direct action photographs.

Facilitator: Gary

Length 2 hours

Description: Improving the quality of DA pics for Indymedia & other DIY sites & publications. How pics of even tame actions can, with more thought to composition, viewpoint, framing & technical camera knowledge can be turned into interesting & dynamic pics, avoiding common faults. Many examples of good & bad pics.

Putting your media online

Faciliator: mickfuzz

Length: 60 mins

Description: A short guide to capturing and getting your audio video online. Using Audacity Avidemux and other appropriate capturing tools.

Alternative Media Distribution Channels

Facilitator: mickfuzz

Length: 60 mins

Description: A short guide to distributing your video work with a Video podcast. Looking at the Miro player and Channel guide, RSS2 (with enclosures),,, and We'll look at these free online resources and talk about strategy for getting video work more audience.