The great and good from the world of film and media education in the UK congregated for the 30th year running at BFI Southbank at the end of June. Joining the 120 delegates were industry luminaries like Angela Jain (MD of ITV Studios), Adewale Akinnuoye Agbaje (actor and debuting director), and Jonathan Brackley and Sam Vincent (the writers and now Exec Producers behind hit TV android drama Humans). As per usual, 40 separate sessions spread over 2 days challenged delegates to make difficult choices about what they could NOT afford to miss!
Quickclass, with longtime connections and collaborations with the BFI, was invited to take part in the Conference for the 4th year running. As with each of the previous years, the challenge lay in doing something completely different to add to the gathering’s rich variety. This year, the BFI Education team, headed by Mark Reid and Conference Producer Corinna Downing opted to create a means of spreading a selection the learning highlights far beyond Southbank.
The dangers of filming conference plenaries and sessions and posting them willy-nilly online are numerous. What would giving the content away do for those who had paid (or their schools paid) £100’s to attend in person? Would they bother coming next year if sessions are all there for the taking for free afterwards on YouTube? And what would presenters feel about their ‘exclusive’ talks all appearing openly online? Next, giving highly relevant and valuable content away for free actually psychologically debases its value in viewers eyes.
The solution the BFI and Quickclass came up with was to film just seven of the most widely appealing and hig-profile sessions and then make those exclusively available to stream at will and multiple times through a dedicated BFI Media Conf App. This is available to download for £9.99 on any iOS or Android device and the sessions will be available for at least the next 12 months. App users are invited to complete all seven featured sessions and then post questions and discussions about them through the app as well.
Scrappy (but endlessly creative and ‘can-do’) production house MondoTV.co led the charge on the Session capture and editing fronts. Their small team completed their tasks at a breakneck pace and delivered all the session films by Friday evening, not a couple of hours after the Conference officially wrapped up.
Ultimately, the BFI’s Media Conf App gives first-of-its-kind access to a never-before-reachable audience, helps spread the first-rate knowledge to thousands of film and media educators and promotes the Media Conference to future years’ potential delegates. For BFI Education, Quickclass and MondoTV, it was a successful collaboration which will hopefully lead to the conference’s gems of knowledge reaching a much wider audience, and also lead the way to the next evolutionary step of trailblazing again in 2019!