Video creators, scholars, activists, policy makers, technologists and entrepreneurs gathered at USC to focus on the future of visual media in the 21st century during “24/7: A DIY Video Summit” � a first-of-its-kind international event held at an academic institution.
Hosted by the USC Institute for Multimedia Literacy, the USC School of Cinematic Arts and the USC Annenberg School for Communication, the summit’s goal was to unite the creative minds involved in the spectrum of do-it-yourself (DIY) video communities emerging in new media ecology.
From Feb. 8-10, participants explored the incredible dynamic at play as millions flock to online video sharing sites such as YouTube, Revver, imeem, Stage6 and Eyespot.
The project was co-chaired by School of Cinematics Arts researcher and youth media expert Mizuko Ito and Steve Anderson, director of the school’s new Media Arts and Practice Ph.D. program.
“It went spectacularly well,” Anderson said. “Our guest speakers were able to address the range of things that are represented by DIY culture in general. Although DIY video was what brought everyone together, the conversation really blossomed out into a lot of other areas.
“In particular, I was excited to see conversations happening among disparate groups of people who don’t normally get a chance to interact � not just from one creator community to another but also people from industry getting a chance to talk to the makers, fans and academics.”
There were 150 paid registratrants (including attendees from Amsterdam, Germany, Mexico and France) for the weekend’s academic conference tracks alone, covering topics such as intellectual property, media creation, distribution and new-media design tools. In addition, guests flocked to the summit’s free public video screenings, where the fare ranged from DIY design video, activist documentary and youth media to machinima, fan vids and anime music videos.
“Some of the challenges posed here are very important roadblocks that we need to think about if we’re going to achieve a diverse and participatory society � one that allows a lot of important ideas to be heard that are blocked by the current configuration of mass media,” said Henry Jenkins, co-director of MIT’s Comparative Media Studies Program.
Jenkins spoke during the summit’s State of the Art panel, which looked beyond the hype and misunderstanding of mainstream media and focused on the current state of DIY video and its promise for the future.
Writing regularly on media and cultural change, Jenkins is one of the principal investigators for The Education Arcade, a consortium of educators and business leaders working to promote the educational use of computer and video games. His newest books include Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide and Fans, Bloggers and Gamers: Exploring Participatory Culture.
“What this conference is doing really well,” Jenkins said, “is bringing in all these different communities to talk to each other about their shared use of this platform. That’s what’s going to spark change.”
Anderson noted that the Institute for Media Literacy intends to continue the momentum by planning events in coming years, but for now, the “24/7” Web site (http://www.video24-7.org) will serve as a repository for documentation of the event and a hub for ongoing conversations.
“People from around the world are already blogging about the weekend, posting images and videos that convey their excitement about it,” Anderson said. “It’s already showing signs of having a very dynamic life beyond the event.”