BBC Blast Event Producer Training Days in London 25th/26th May 2006

Ultralab have been commissioned by BBC Blast after a long working relationship over the years to provide the lead facilitation role on the first ever BBC Blast National Tour. Ultralab has years of experience facilitating groups of young people (on a global scale) working to use technology for creative purpose. The Ultralab team will be working with ‘Event Producers’ nationally to support the planning and rollout of creativity workshops across the entire 15 week tour. Hal, Hamish and Matthew will rotate during the tour itself, but will overlap in Northern Ireland and London.
Hal MacLean reflects on the training day, attended by Hamish Scott-Brown, Matthew Eaves and Hal himself:
You can’t really imagine what a juggernaut looks like as a training area, and the following images probably don’t really help except to show the amazing flexibility of the vehicle itself. These were taken at the BBCs outside broadcast depot in Acton.
Whilst this looks like a cafe area, you are seeing one side of the truck and the outside area that will be covered with a canopy. To the left is a low stage and between the windows are some floodlights that will give a great ambience to the space. The outside area is intended to be for sample workshops, dance work, performance and so on. It can hold about 100 people for a show.
The sides of the truck concertina up to form a roof, and extend the width of the space. The walls fold out and the floor unfolds sideways as well. A normal truck is about 7ft wide, but this image shows the extended width, which I estimate as nearer 25 feet.
On the inside the space has four tables which are fitted with 3 laptops each. Plasma screens around the edge (one per table) and an interactive whiteboard are available… along with loads of other techie stuff. The dividers around the tables are removable for more collaborative working.
With space for 12 laptops we reckon we could get 24 – 30 people working in there easily enough, but the limit is for 50 people inside when it is set up for a showcase. Towards the far right end of the shot is a doorway that leads into a studio space and more visible on the left you go into an editing suite – this will have 3 macbook pro machines in it as well as video mixing, hard discs, network equipment and shedloads of other stuff to allow people to bring along just about any format media and have it digitized so that they can work on it.
Here you can see video mixers, audio mixers and on the far right are a couple of tape ‘ingest’ drives – further over to the right, out of shot, are the network routers and hard drives, DVD burners, VTR machines… a veritable playground!
This suite looks in to a studio space which is going to be multifunctional – currently a backdrop screen and a chair are all that is in there, but look at the number of people – it can easily hold half a dozen plus camera crew…
The event producers were all there and anxious to know what they would be able to do in the space – true to form, Hamish and Matt introduced them to the joys of digital creativity through an intensive two hour workshop packed with stills photography, storyboarding, animation, garage band, iMovie… endless ideas and ways to actively engage the young people who will visit.
Hame, Matt and I will be working a frantic carousel of attendance at the different locations… supported by Richard and Colin (who hopefully will cover the Reading Festival as a location for the truck). Other locations are still being organised and it’s all hands to the pumps! Liverpool starts the tour *tomorrow*!!
Good luck to the Liverpool team, and to Matt who will be the lead facilitator on the day.

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