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Webcasting gives Nature new voice March 17, 2007

Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in News, Web Video.
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Webcasting is empowering nature lovers, conservation activists and wildlife filmmakers to share their stories and images worldwide. A Montana State University site is proving to be the hot new meeting place to watch and download content on nature free of charge.

The project by MSU’s Science and Natural History Filmmaking graduate program videocasts student films about local and international environmental issues. The films can be accessed at the TERRA website, or by a search for TERRA in the Apple iTunes music store. Those using the second option need iTunes software, which can be downloaded for free at the iTunes store.

TERRA has since grown to become more than just a means of delivering nature education. Ronald Tobias, director of the MSU program is exploring new ways to put user-generated content about Nature at the forefront of the conservation agenda. We spoke at the inaugural International Wildlife and Environmental Film Festival in Singapore. Tobias believes the Internet will empower people to ignite conversations on the fate of the Earth.

Scheduled TV is quickly becoming a thing of the past, and will be replaced with on-demand content available through the Web, making TERRA available to anyone who has a computer is a way of reaching audiences around the world.

RONALD TOBIAS, Discovery Networks Professor of Science & Natural History Filmmaking

If webcasting is slated to be the future of media, filmmakers and digital auteurs need to use images, audio and stories in new ways. Narratives are accessed and experienced differently on the Internet, where you have many more elements to choose from. It’s about showing, telling, demonstrating and interacting.

JOANNE TEOH KHENG YAU
Journalist/Documentary maker

Tobias, who has a background in film production and scripting, said the TERRA model is already making a mark in the world of natural history, attracting interest from ventures like Joost, the Web video project which is still in beta.

Students keep content fresh by posting at least one new film a month. The bulk of initial films come from MSU with a growing list of content from independent filmmakers.

Visitors to the site may subscribe to an e-mail alerting them to new offerings, as well as post their location on a virtual map. Viewers with the iTunes option may also subscribe so new content is automatically downloaded into the browser. The TERRA site includes a section about how to download the films.

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