Video of Burning Man will never be the same. It’s getting crowd-sourced.
Ladies and gentlemen, Burners of all ages, I am humbled to announce the new: “Profiles in Dust,” a concept so amazing that, mid-way through the explanation of how it came to be, I’m going to try to steal credit for it.
In the meantime, here’s what you need to know to jump in with both feet:
Last year a team of trusted videographers took massive amounts of extraordinary footage of Burning Man. Every day, everywhere, every CORE project. They made sure all of it follows Burning Man’s standards for privacy and protection of participants.
Now they’ve put all that raw footage on the web, where it’s freely available for download, to be mixed into whatever presentations people want. They’re developing tools for easy use, and are actively looking for videographers amateur and experienced to turn it into something all their own.
Pretty awesome. If you’re not inspired yet, take a look at the “Profiles in Dust” site. See what people have done with this opportunity. Come back in 20 minutes. Or 30. Take as long as you like. You’ll be hooked. Go ahead: I’ll still be here.
Not only have they created the means for anybody to make video about Burning Man with professionally shot footage – they’re creating a killer distribution system (KDS – patent pending) to bring your work to the widest audience possible.
It’s the inverse of a traditional network: all the creative and programming decisions are made by the artists, and the “network” is a service desk supporting their efforts.
Tell me you don’t want a piece of this.
They’re also looking to give previously produced videos of Burning Man, that are just sitting on the shelf, a new life with this distribution system.
And … if you want to be one of the videographers running around with them in the dust this year – and you’ve got the chops – they’re looking for volunteers.
Get involved – pretty soon the world will be looking at us in a whole different way. For more information email Noelle Charles: dangerousgrace (at) Earthlink.net
Well? Go! Don’t sit around here! I’m just going to be mumbling about the amazing people who made this possible.
Burning Man volunteer Tom LaPorte will deny it, but the whole thing was probably his idea. He’s like that. LaPorte (I call him “Mr. Tom LaPorte,” because … well … he’s that guy) contacted Burning Man staff member Meghan Rutigliano with a more basic version of the idea … which was not as fully developed as what they have now, but did involve using talented video volunteers to take video of the CORE projects and serve as a kind of PR desk to get the projects more attention in the regions themselves. Megs jumped on the prospect, and they had a conference call with me (I told you I’d try to steal some credit) to see if there were Media Mecca volunteers I could pass their way.
They already had the incomparable Terry Pratt, Noelle Charles, Greg Sklar, and Justin Gunn … all of whom were ready to run out into the desert and work all day in the hot sun, for no reward, to get the video. I loved the idea of other people doing that so I wouldn’t have to, and hooked them up with new Media Mecca volunteer (now rising star) Michael Fasman, among others.
It takes a long time to ramp a new initiative up, and the effort to provide pre-event publicity to the regional projects didn’t pan out – but by the end of the 2011 Burn they had some compelling video of regional projects edited down, and they resolved to do it again for 2012, only more organized and more effectively. (Here are the original 2011 Profiles in Dust videos, along with a complete list of people who worked on the project that year)
When the 2012 Burn came around there they were, out in the dust, getting crucial videos for all 34 CORE projects, day in and day out.
It went magnificently.
The only trouble was, they realized coming home from the Burn, that they had too much film. Hundreds and hundreds of hours. “We were never going to get through it all,” Terry said.
And then it hit them: why would they have to? Why not open it up? Why not get so much more out of this footage than they ever could have on their own?
That’s already happened. Go to the Profiles in Dust site and check out the killer videos, using their footage, from Scandanavia, from Lithuania, from Idaho, from Arizona, and all other points on the compass.
It’s open source art. Burning Man video may very well never be the same – because of you.
What are you waiting for?
Caveat is the Volunteer Coordinator for Media Mecca at Burning Man. His opinions are in no way statements of the Burning Man organization. Contact him at Caveat (at) Burningman.com.