Every so often you get to be involved with a project which is not only professionally satisfying, it also resonates with your own personal obsessions. Kermode Uncut - the newly launched BBC video blog - has been one such project, marrying my passion for blogging with my fan-boy enthusiasm for the film criticism of Mark Kermode. Long-standing readers of this blog will know that I listen religiously to his weekly Radio 5 Live film review podcast with Simon Mayo (see My media consumption diet) and that his wife was my one of my tutors at University (see 8 random facts about me). Suffice to say, I didn't have to think for long before taking Nick Cohen (Multiplatform Executive for BBC Knowledge) up on his offer to help shepherd the project through its initial development phase.
So, why a video blog (or, if we must, vlog)? Well, anyone's who seen or heard Mark's review of Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End will understand how much of his reviewing is in the delivery and what a missed opportunity simply sitting him down at a keyboard would have been (excellent though his writing for Sight & Sound and The Observer is). It also felt like an opportunity to innovate with the BBC's blogging platform. With the possible exception of the Blue Peter blog (which Wikipedia credits as the BBC's first video blog), the BBC's blogs have been predominantly text-led to date, which was also starting to feel like a bit of a missed opportunity for an organisation which knows a thing or two about creating compelling video content.
Video blogging first started genrating buzz back in 2005 (aided and abetted by the launch of YouTube), but is still to go mainstream in the way that text blogging has, despite a few high-profile successes (e.g. Rocketboom, lonelygirl15). My hunch is that this may change in the coming 12 months as mobile video cameras continue to improve and sites like Seesmic, Qik and Kyte get users more comfortable with talking direct to camera (interestingly it was the Beeb that did much to pave the way for video blogging with Video Nation).
Certainly the typically more intimate, authored tone of a video blog is a good fit for Mark as this wonderful post on his past experience of the Cannes Film Festival demonstrates.
Props to: Nicholas Jones, Stevan Keane, Hedda Archbold, Nick Cohen, Claire Cook, Neil Bramah, Al Boley, Aaron Scullion and anyone else I've forgotten (as I invariably do).