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Films on the web: Power to the people

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Angry Girl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-30-05 03:41 PM
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Films on the web: Power to the people
A new website allows anyone to show a short film. Now we can all have our four minutes of fame, says Jimmy Lee Shreeve.

Channel 4 is giving wannabe documentary makers the chance to showcase their work on its new broadband channel, FourDocs. Unlike vanity publishing in the book world, they don't have to pay for the privilege: the new service is completely free to use and is part of Channel 4's commitment to public-service broadcasting. Along with a good idea, all the budding film-maker needs is a digital video camera and editing software. Once they've shot and edited their film, they upload it to the FourDocs website, where it can be viewed by anyone using Windows or Macintosh media players.

"These documentaries can be on any subject, so long as it adheres to the specified legal guidelines," explains Peter Dale, head of More4 - Channel 4's new public-service digital channel - who conceived the project. "The only other stipulation is that uploaded documentaries be no more than four minutes long. This short format was chosen partly because it is a challenge for both new and experienced documentary film-makers, and also because four minutes is currently the level of attention span most people have when viewing on the internet."

According to Dale, one of the key benefits of FourDocs is that it provides valuable feedback for film-makers keen to develop their skills. "All submitted documentaries can be rated and reviewed by other users or by the general public, with the most popular films promoted to the front page - like a documentary hit parade," he says.
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