Taking Photos in public

March 23, 2008

I’ve thought about this a lot, but never got around to looking into it so now that I’ve stumbled across this I need to note it here.

My understanding is that you can take photos of anything you want in a public place – you don’t need permission of people or copyright owners or property owners. Later, if you want to publish or use photos (especially for profit) it is a bit more tricky. It is obviously better to get consent if you want to use them like this and also it is polite in many cases if you are getting in people’s way or if they are the main subject of the photo. Anyway, lots more info….

UK Photographers Rights

Photography and The Law: know your rights
(US law, but good advice)

I have no idea how much of this is also relevant to video work done in public so if anyone comes across this and knows more feel free to comment.

Now that I know this I’ll publish this photo which I took last month. I was taking pics of the mirrors in a shop window when this moment just happened – I’ve not asked her permission, but it was very obvious that she was walking through the shot, I’m not sure if she was looking to see what was worth taking photos of or just checking herself out but I really like the moment.


What’s even better is that my understanding of all this legal stuff is that I can take the photo with her in it, I don’t need permission to publish it but I have full copyright on it – so don’t copy!

Good Friday ! Labyrinth

March 22, 2008

Over a hundred people went through the Labyrinth at St Silas today.  A lot of those who came weren’t St Silas ‘regulars’ and lots haven’t been to a Labyrinth at all before or hadn’t been to a Good Friday themed one.

As well as giving people the opportunity to leave anonymose written feedback I asked a few people if they wouldn’t mind being interviewed on camera about their feelings having gone around the labyrinth.  It was great to get so much face to face feedback from people and to hear first hand how this technique or ‘tool’ for meeting with God touched them in so many different ways.

Someone was reminded of something in the way their mum told them the Easter story at one of the stations and went around thinking about it all as if they were a child again. Lots of people liked the tactile elements, feeling how heavy the cross may have been for example.  People liked taking it at their own pace and how different that was compared to coming to church and going at the pace of whatever is going on.  Someone mentioned that the point when Simon carries the cross for Jesus it made them see that even he needed help and accepted it from Simon – so it is OK to ask for help from others.

This was all really encouraging, because most of this stuff wasn’t actually in the material we put together but was generated by the use of the material and individuals meeting with God.  It was also fantastic to look around during the tear down at the end of a busy couple of days to see so many people had turned up to help!  We turned the building round in under two hours, taking everything apart, packing it up and getting all the chairs out ready for Sunday morning…  here’s the time lapse…

direct link to youtube video

It’s been squished from 16:9 widescreen to 4:3 so if I get time I’ll fix this and put up another video but this is still fun.

Good Friday ?

March 21, 2008

So it’s Good Friday – Easter weekend – the end of Holy Week.

There are times of the Christian life when you feel ‘on fire’, times of ‘doubt’, times of ‘coasting’, times of ‘waiting’, etc. but the seasons and festivals of the church calender help to guide us back to the basics.  Christmas is obviously nice, but with all the family pressures, commercialization, and everything else that goes on it isn’t easy to focus on the ‘Christian bit’.  Easter on the other hand is still a comparatively unspoilt (or ignored) Christian festival, and a good time to remind yourself of the most important week of Jesus life – all the victory over death, resurrection stuff.

Today was the setup day for the Good Friday Labyrinth at St Silas.  This is the third year we have done this and we are starting to know what we are doing in the sense of physical set up.  Each year has changed slightly what has been where, but in general it follows the traditional Stations of the Cross from Christ’s Passion, so there aren’t many different ways to present things.

The Labyrinth is a team effort, and I’m only reflecting here on my part in it and how the preparation has really spoken to me this week.  This sounds a little like ‘look at how much I’ve done’, but that really isn’t what I’m trying to say….

You see, the ‘work’ or ‘effort’ that goes into the Good Friday Labyrinth (and other events I’m involved with) sometimes really get to me – it’s the ‘why am I putting in so much effort for this’ feeling.  On one hand, the Labyrinth is something that I think I have something to offer – I can make videos, either re-edit something to make it usable as a station, or create something new – I’m fairly good at the practical problem solving of setup, layout, aesthetics, etc. – I think I have an eye for detail, planning and organisation (again, it’s a team thing I’m not trying to say I do it all!!!)

On the other hand, I’m tired!  I haven’t had a free evening or weekend for too long and it seems I do nothing but prep for tomorrow, I’ve had to use up holiday time from work to get things done, I had to ice up my hand a few times last week because I was doing too much keyboard work all day and every evening on Labyrinth stuff, I’ve had a headache for the last two days, and well, I’m tired…

But how I’ve come to think of this (and I hope I can continue to think of it in this way) is that there are times when our worship should be hard, sacrificial and service-based, and when better to suffer for your faith in this SMALL way than for Good Friday when Christ suffered so much.

So, tomorrow the core team who planned, set up and will run the Labyrinth will serve others, we will have a laugh and enjoy ourselves, we will get bored at times no doubt and we certainly won’t get much out of going around the Labyrinth ourselves because we will spot things that aren’t right or need changed, and at the end of a long couple of days we take it all down and re-set the church ready for Easter Sunday – hopefully with the help of lots of other volunteers.

However, through this tool we are enabling people to meet with God.  I will try to be thinking not about the God who died on the cross on Good Friday – I’ve been thinking about that a lot already in preparation for this.  I will be thinking about the God who meets each person as they journey around the Labyrinth, taking them by the hand and leading them around each station.  The God who will know that person and will know what in the music, the words, the setting, visuals, smells, etc. will best speak to that person’s needs.  The God who is alive post-Easter and who is intimate and able to meet each person.

We have made available a tool for him to use, it is up to each person who goes around the Labyrinth to be open and listening and looking for what God is saying to them as they go around.

I think knowing that is what is actually going on makes it worth the hard few weeks.

Hay-Soos not Jesus

March 14, 2008

A new character has appeared in the Dilbert cartoon strip this week – his name is spelled ‘Jesus’ but pronounced ‘Hay-Soos’.

Haysoos 2

I found it funny and in no way a threat to my fiath, however on Scott Adams (creator of Dilbert) blog today is the unsurprising news that there has been complaints. This from todays blog post

My favorite rhetorical question, which I received an alarming number of times, was “Why don’t you mock Mohammed next? Huh? Why not?”

Well, aside from the blindingly obvious reason that I prefer life over death, I didn’t realize I was making fun of Christianity this week.

Beyond Belief -Radio 4’s Religious discussion show- recently broadcast a discussion on Religious Imagery picking up on the fact that the Danish newspapers that caused the controversy by publishing cartoons of Mohammed had recently re-published them in the name of freedom of speech following a death threat on the original cartoonist – see Wikipedia pages.

The Beyond Belief broadcast (still available in the ‘Listen to previous programmes’ drop down list as 03 March – Religious Imagery) talked about how imagery, including the image of God and Christ has always been used in the Christian faith from Icons to cartoons – very interesting.

Future Me

March 8, 2008

Do you ever talk to yourself?

Does it make much sense?

Why not talk to your future self by sending an email using Future Me?

This web site sends an email to your email address at a given date in the future (obviously – if it could send an email to a date in the past you could really mess with your life).

Andy Parsons

March 8, 2008
I really wasn’t feeling very well last night, one of those slowly building headaches that usually ends in a migraine. But I still managed to go to The Garage on Sauchiehall Street to see Andy Parsons.This is the first time I’ve managed to go to anything that was part of Glasgow Comedy Festival even though I live a stones throw from The Stand comedy club on Woodlands Road.Andy Parsons (best known from BBCs Mock the Week) was good. My experince of live comedy is that there is always too much searing and it is often crude sexual jokes as sexist and racist material just isn’t acceptable any more. So with this in mind Andy Parsons’ wasn’t too bad at all (OK he did swear a lot but nothing that the act was built on).

The show was a mix of improvised audience interaction – why anyone would ever sit on the front row of a comedy act is beyond me – observational comedy and political satire that lasted around two hours. The time passed very quickly with constant belly laughs and giggles, yet nothing that I can share here, for example the rant about 100% wholewheat Shredded Wheat just won’t work second hand :-)

the garage
Andy Parsons
Glasgow Comedy Festival
The Stand

The Garage

It was strange being in The Garage again after so many years. When I was a student I lived in Baird Hall right next door and this venue was regularly hired for our Christmas and end of year parties. So my memory of it is wearing a hired Tux or kilt and with the place filled with people you knew – always a great atmosphere. Now it is just one of those places that I walk past every day on the way home from work and often has a queue of teens dressed entirely in black waiting for the latest metal sensation. The queue often makes my laugh by the amount of effort that they are each going to to look more grungy than each other and trying to be cool by looking ‘different’ yet managing to look exactly the same as each other – don’t you just love ‘youth tribes’


March 7, 2008

A couple of weeks ago I had a conversation with a couple of American friends who both said they didn’t have TVs partially at least because they found the license fee ridiculous.  I patriotically started to defend the concept pointing out that the BBC provided radio and web content, but I didn’t feel I had a very strong argument.

Then today I found out about TWO fantastic new dramas that I really do only thing could be produced by the BBC.

10 Days to War

Is a series of eight short dramas with top stars with each episode taking the viewer into a dramatised version of what is now known about what was going on five years to the day on the lead up to the invasion of Iraq.  I think this is a really interesting idea, but in addition to a high quality (hopefully) drama as this is being broadcast in conjunction with Newsnight (BBC2 premier news program) each one will will be followed by a discussion “with some of the real players portrayed in the drama and other key figures involved at the time.” according to The Editors blog.

Starts 10th March 10:30.

The Passion

Again, something that the BBC does really well.  The blurb here says “The Passion is the retelling of the last week of Jesus’s life from three different viewpoints: the religious authorities, the Romans and Jesus himself”

bbc passion

Four episodes (16th, 17th, 22nd & 23rd March), fantastic cast, and a very good web site companion to go with it including a ‘get involved’ section.

So could anyone other than the BBC produce these things?  I doubt it, and certainly not with the web sites and other additional features and teaching materials available…..  makes me feel a little better about paying for the license fee.

I belive in ‘Ghost’

March 6, 2008

I’m not a huge Nine Inch Nails (NIN) fan, I actually came across this thing in relation to copyright and DRM (Digital Rights Management) but here is what its about…

The web site says “I’ve been considering and wanting to make this kind of record for years, but by its very nature it wouldn’t have made sense until this point. This collection of music is the result of working from a very visual perspective – dressing imagined locations and scenarios with sound and texture; a soundtrack for daydreams. I’m very pleased with the result and the ability to present it directly to you without interference. I hope you enjoy the first four volumes of Ghosts.” 

Did you notice the ‘present it directly to you without interference’?  This seems to be out with any record publishing contact, and is being released under a Creative Commons license (permitting sharing, distribution, remixing and any noncommercial reuse of the material) and without any DRM.  They are specifically encouraging this material to be remixed into new works.  There are 36 tracks in total, the first 9 (presumably GHOST I) is a free, but still high quality, download or you can download all 36 tracks for $5, or order them on 2CDs for $10 – which is all extremely cheap!  There are also some more complicated packages for $75 or $300 (presumably for hard core fans).

NIN banner

The first 9 tracks (I haven’t decided yet if I want more) I would describe as ‘interesting’ and ‘experimental’.  They are perhaps more artistic expressions or soundscapes than music you would be used to and not something I would sit back and relax to : BTW you can also listen online before downloading anything.

But rather than an issue of whether this is a gimmick or if the music is any good or not, I find it fascinating and exciting that artists will give away their creative material for other artists to make use of.  In a similar way to the Mobygratis site I posted about previously (which was specifically for filmmakers) some of these NIN tracks are ideal for soundtracks to visuals.  Also, as all the video work I do is non-commercial and not-for-profit it is totally legal.

There is a real problem about trying to use music legally, I have used MCPS before to get legal use of chart music but it isn’t easy or cheap even for non-profit or charitable use.  There is also ongoing (I think, although I’ve not heard anything for a while) pressure to change the copyright legislation to apply for more than 50 years, so that artists will still get paid for their work created more than 50 years ago.  I feel split because a worker should be paid a fair wage but at the same time it is virtually impossible to get legal use of music at a reasonable price.

Jeff Healey

March 3, 2008

I spotted that Jeff Healey was on tour last year and thought about going to see him but never got around to it. I first heard him in the movie Road House (1989) and picked up a few of his CDs back then. He had a unique blues / rock guitar sound and not just becuase of the way he played. Anyway, in tribute to Jeff Healey…

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