• Video forum report 2009

last modified December 3, 2009 by jnardi


Working for the Forum in Belem was very complicated, both in preparation and during the
Forum itself; nevertheless, it was overall a very positive and fruitful experience, with the
involvement of local videoactivist and the coverage of many of the main Forum activities.
Before the Forum, with Ciranda and the Belem communication working group, we built a
independent communications center at Cepepo, an NGO of Belem, which for many years
worked in video production. At the NGOs headquarter, the five groups of the Shared
communication project could meet and start producing content before the Forum.
ForumTv took a path that started from the UFPA’s  Faculty of Communication of Belem
where several meetings both with the students and the local GF took place, and with the
university FACOM (Faculty of Communication) that has helped greatly by making available
spaces and equipment to us during the Forum.

We had several opportunities to speak about the previous communication projects at the
forums of the past,  the technical aspect of video making and sharing, and how to use
www.wsftv.net to upload video for distribution.  This helped prepare the field with local and
other brasilian groups.
Internet connection

The issue of the internet connection braodband connection has followed us for months
before the Forum, and at the end was not resolved, creating enormous problems of
connectivity to all the alternative and independent media.  Here is a “diary” of the
difficulties, for future memory.
We arrived at UFPA on January 24th in the morning to start finalizing the hard work made
in the last months on dicussing and deciding what internet connection, bandwidth and
accesses for all the independent media would be made available.

We were supposed to have a number of guaranteed bandwidth slices, most of them based
on RNP service provider in Facom (30 Mbps), to supply the real needs of all the situations
as following:
1 - EBC / Funtelpa - 8mbps
2 - Comunicação compartilhada - Fórum de TVs - 7mbps
3 - Comunicação compartilhada - Fórum de Rádios - 2Mbps
4 - Comunicação compartilhada - Belex - 2Mbps
5 - Comunicação compartilhada - Ciranda - 2Mbps
6 - Comunicação compartilhada - Lab Livre - 3mbps
7 - Carta Maior - 3mbps

None were available.

Moreover, we were told that everything was based on WI-FI access to 155 Mbps from
PRODEPA without any particular bandwidth allocation policy, no guaranteed bandwidth for
anyone. So a realtime streaming audio or a video conference would have been handled as
a journalist email sent from a webmail client.

We suggested to give at least wired access to PRODEPA rather than wi-fi (like 3 rooms of
Belem Expanded in the gymnasium building), on the other hand for Facom we get to the
point to set up a VPN (virtual private network) opening a tunnel from one point (gateway)
in Facom to the EDP Center and allocate guaranteed bandwidth specific on that point (we
also made successful on-field tests on this point).
We would then have to spread that connectivity by wire to all the situations (TV Forum -
Forum de Radios - Ciranda and so on) within Facom.
On the second day of the Forum, nothing had changed: just cables running all around
Facom with no connectivity. After 2 days of the Forum, we finally had wired connectivity
from PRODEPA in Facom with no guaranteed bandwidth.
In the meantime, we got access to the IT Lab of RNP Facom and were able to share this to
anyone we could give to, in particular to Forum de Radios. All video distribution activities
and 2 days of Radio Streaming on these were based on hacks and unauthorized use of
RNP connectivity. More than 4 GB of low / medium quality video contents were spread
outside the Forum in this way. Maximum upload bandwidth peak was 100 KB (800 kbps)
per connection. Quite far from 2, 3, 7 or 8 Mbps (8192 kbps) as expected.

In order to prepare the ground for the project FORUMTV, several videos were produced at
the independent media center of Belem. This was a very positive and important initiative
because many people took part, especially young people of various districts and university
students who have used this opportunity to do hands-on experience.
The project was to produce video during the Forum and distribute it in different formats, for
wsftv web site, for Belem Expanded and for the international brodcasters television
distribution in collaboration with Eurovision.
Forum de TV has produced in the days of a forum about 40 short videos plus 5 highlights
of 10 minutes each to distribute to international broadcasters. The Forumtv videos,
coordinated in the production by Cepepo, were also sent daily to the Brazilian public
television EBC for a program about the Forum. Focuspuller produced the video for the
satellite distribution to the international circuit, and tried to help solve the problem of the
Internet connection, distributed and produced some of the video content for the web and
coordinated wsftv.net.  Arcoiris.tv with 2 people worked on video coverage of the events at
the Forum.
The next step has been working on organising and archiving of audiovisual memory. I
believe that one of the positive things was to allow so many young people to have
experience in the television coverage of a international event and can now continue to
produce video to tell us what's happening in the Amazon.

The highlights have been distributed both on the Internet and with satellite uplink. It has
been a challenge to convince the international consortium of public television stations
Eurovision to partecipate to the WSF; up to 10 days before the Forum they did not decide
whether to cover the event. But after a continuous pressure, we managed to obtain their
participation, through a service satellite broadcaster.  Our videos were sent each day via
satellite at no cost and were distributed to their members; at the end of this report (see
appendix II) is the list of the European television that pulled the material down.  This was a
WSF2009 – Communication commission shared projects report – p. 24
little miracle that has happened,since there was no budget for it, but in future we can
continue this way.  
There were a number European televisions (Ard from Germany, Rai from Italy, Al Jazira
from the UK, Arté from France, as far as we know).  The South American Tv was strongly
represented, also thanks to the presence of the 5 Presidents: EBC, Globo and other
Brazilian media; Argentinian television; Telesur,  ViveTV from Venezuela, Cuban television;
French Guyana television where there.
Our highlights were also distributed to other web sites and television stations via ftp as for
DAWN in Pakistan, who is not part of EBU circuit.

The wsftv.net website, which was created in occasion of the Global Day of Action 2008 as
a video exchange hub, had a graphic restyling for the Belem Forum, and the development
of some functionalities of the software and a new player to watch videos.
About 45 videos produced during the pre-forum and the 5 days of Forum were uploaded.
Several new partecipants in addition to Cepepo from Belem began to collaborate to the
work regarding the website. Now it is very important to work on Audiovisual Memory and
editing of documentaries, therefore it is necessary to find ways to finance this work.
General considerations
The World Social Forum in Belem was another opportunity to return to make an
audiovisual collective work that has achieved its objectives: to mobilize toward production
and distribute through the wsftv site and others like Arcoiris.tv in the network, distribute to
the international circuit of TV.
Among the critical aspects, the fact that until the last days before the Forum, we did not
know if we had the availability of some airplane tickets to get a crew and an editor to do
the work in Belem. The video editor from Belem, which was supposed to help throughout
the Forum, came only one day, and two editing islands that that were supposed to come,
never arrived. The problem of the islands of edition and the lack of availability of video
editors has reduced the production capacity of Forumtv; even FocusPuller had to put one
person mostly to edit the highlights.
It is important to remember that in order to get to the mainstream media, it is mandatory to
reach their standards, to be ready with the tape to send by satellite on time (especially if
the satellite is free of costs), to translate the interviews. Moreover we need to film, find the
location, edit and have the will of people to be interviewed.  Fortunately, we found extra
funds to pay travel for other 2 professionals and covered other 2 from Arcoiris with funds
from the general project.

It  was a great  experience and another step in building more and more collective projects.
A laborious process conducted among a thousand difficulties.  Eurovision complimented
us for the quality and was satisfied. The results – given the conditions we found – have
been overall quite positive, and shall continue helping to involve young people interested
in social video production in Belem, seeing that now perhaps there will be images, sounds
and voices coming from Amazonia through wsftv.net.
WSF2009 – Communication commission shared projects report – p. 25
I was pleased to have worked more as a team then the previous times with the other
communication projects.This time we have coordinated ourself more efficently.
Antonio Pacor, Accesso / Focuspuller