Instafax: BBC news via Instagram video

Here in the UK, you'll hear the BBC referred to as 'Auntie'. There are a few different explanations flying around for the moniker, but the consensus is it derives from the slightly prudish and reserved, 'Auntie knows best' attitude that the corporation had in its early days and well into the 1950s. Now, 'Auntie' is far more a term of endearment, and it can't really be said that the Beeb doesn't innovate. Over the next month the BBC is experimenting with delivering news via Instagram, a venture it's calling 'Instafax', a reference to the late departed text news service, Ceefax. Three times a day it'll post a 15 second video to its BBC News Instagram account.

The videos feature news footage overlaid with text and a music backing. Even if you can't listen, you can still access the salient issues before following through to the full story on the BBC website, or moving on to the next image in your Instagram feed. I've noticed some commenters have found the text a distraction from the footage and would prefer a more news-dense voice-over. I'm going to whisper this because it probably makes me some kind of new media pariah, but I'm not a fan of video content as I find it instrusive. The Instafax hybrid seems to be compromise and one that I like. As BBC person put it:

The idea behind not having a voiceover is that you don't have to have the sound on to understand the video. Additionally, it significantly cuts down on the amount of time the videos take to produce. If we decide to continue producing these after one month, we may consider having both a voiceover and on-screen text.

Why three videos a day? No one wants a feed overwhelmed with BBC news stories.

Doubtless someone, somewhere will be lamenting the demise of longform journalism and decrying the dumbing down of the news, but I'm rather impressed by the BBC's diversification and willingness to embrace social media. It's a pilot that I'd like to see taken up. You can keep up to date by following the BBC's Instagram feed.

(Headsup to DesignTaxi)

Well Done U - a short film competition

Have you ever said something off-the-cuff and then after a moment's pause you realised that it was actually a rather good idea? This happened a few weeks ago, on live radio. Simon Mayo and Mark Kermode have a film review show on BBC Radio 5 Live on a Friday afternoon. They insist it's more two middle-aged men wittering on, with the odd mention of films, hence its moniker 'Wittertainment'. That's slightly by-the-by, but when one of them came out with 'Well done you!' in response to a listener's correspondence, the other mumbled something about it being a good title for a film competition. So it came to be. The BBC Radio 5 Live Kermode and Mayo Film Review Show's Well Done U short film competition.

If you want, you can watch two middle-aged men wittering on about the competition in this video:

What are the judges looking for? Pretty simple in concept but probably not so easy to achieve: a well done 'U' certificate film. As you'd expect, it needs to be creative and technically competent, but the judges want you to think about what you're producing, too. You need to write a brief summary of what you're looking to achieve with your film and they'll look to see if you achieve it.

Your film needs to be two minutes in length and conform to the BBFC's 'U' certification criteria; you need to be an amateur film-maker and a UK resident.

You have until 8 November to submit your entry and if you want to work as a team, that's perfectly acceptable. The entry form and full requirements and terms and conditions can be found on the Well Done U competition page.

Judging happens in two stages. The Wittertainment production team will narrow down the entries to a top 25 by 6 December 2013. These films will be exhibited on the BBC 5 Live website and on the Kermode and Mayo YouTube channel. Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo will select a top three and anounce the grand winner on their film review show on 20 December 2013.

What do you win? Not so much, save for the glory of being chosen to appear on a major BBC radio station to talk about your film, a trophy, and to have the film formally certificated by the BBFC. I'd take it.