Case Studies/TV-Tom.Com

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License Used
Sound, MovingImage
Adoption date unspecified


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Page Importance: B-Class
Page Quality: Medium is the video "Tent" of, demonstrating techniques of movie-making with readily-available software and tools.

Who would have thought you could host your own TV station? — Dr Tom

Overview combines the traditional halves of a traditional chautauqua - speakers and music. Movies using animation and rear projection techniques can bring to life historical events, public domain songs, and powerful documentaries. Video can convey complex messages quickly. The TV-Tom.Com movies at the same time demonstrate to educators some of the techniques now available for quick, powerful custom movie-making such as 3D animation, voice synchronisation, multitracking, pitch-shifting, puppetry, rear projection, and chroma-key - just to name a few.

Archival public domain movie footage (black & white)is given new life when set as the video image to more modern beats from the versions of public domain songs.

Free unlimited bandwidth hosting now allows an individual to set up an international TV station. All this would have been prohibitively expensive only a few years ago.

License Usage

Music videos are based on songs carefully researched and confirmed to be from the international public domain. Only the arrangements and performances had to be specified as Creative Commons.

The documentary material is based on material made available to the author for the purpose of public attention and/or drawn from public knowledge.


Creative Commons is well-known in education circles. Students are taught from an early age to respect copyright.

Music and education were central to Chautauqua

As mentioned in, 100 year old public domain songs can be brought to life with new beats and music videos make them even more like contemporary tunes. This fits well with the Expression Tent of our chautauqua.

A role for reform documentaries?

But the Reform Tent cries out for a medium to replace the old orators. Internet TV can fill this niche. Tom and Margaret have been active in Sydney public life. Tom is Vice-President of the Medical Consumers Association. Over the years persons have brought their stories to our attention. We have material obtained under Freedom of Information and have, in turn, submitted these to authorities, inquiries, and the media, sometimes to be buried without even a 'thank you'.. So do we have any role or obligation to do anything further with the material? Is there any role for independent internet TV journalism?

Internet TV has one absolutely critical advantage over broadcast TV - it is international. International broadcast TV news can only cover the very broadest issues. Local items are broadcast within a city, state, or range of transmitter. By contrast, internet TV can take the most highly specific specialised or local issue immediately to the world at large. This is potentially a tremendous power in millions of individual hands. Is this a good thing?

According to some of Australia's most respected TV journalists there is a huge hole in mainstream journalism crying out for something independent:

Jana Wendt in her 1997 Andrew Olle Media Lecture, ABC said "… Stories trumpeted as 'in-depth' reports are often little more than a ninety second videotape pastiche, incorporating a series of fleeting faces, making half-statements. … At rock bottom , it is no better than the small-time conmen it often smites with phoney outrage .. The perversion of commercial television news and current affairs is due largely, I think, to the increased accuracy with which the viewing pulse of a select group of people around the country can now be monitored. … Never mind the news value, feel those ratings points. .. the commercial media juggernaut is at odds with basic democratic principles. It only listens if you are part of the pack, if you behave like the herd and in the case of the tabloids' front page lynchings, if you are prepared to cheer at executions. .. Silenced by what the journalist, Michael Ignatieff called, a 'sullen populism' that is a mindset which according to Ignatieff, 'holds most forms of genuine intellectual authority in contempt'. does any of this matter? Well, I would contend that it matters a great deal because put simply, journalists are the people on whom we rely to tell us about the world. To tell us about how we are being governed - to give us the base materials - that is facts - without which we cannot make intelligent judgments about our own lives."

The ABC’s Quentin Dempster had made similar observations in his 1990 book Honest Cops: “.. this society had a stroke of luck in the exposure of corruption which was impossible to predict given the entrenched nature of the police, legal, judicial, political and media cultures operating in a web of self-deception. ... The journalism practised was of the old school variety. Those journalists who could successfully gain the confidence and the 'scoops' of the powerful were seen to be masters of their profession. … It is far deadlier than the simple expediencies and lies of politicians in their lust for power: far more degenerate than then mere character assassination, insider dealings and bribery of rival corporations; far more insidious than the disinformation run as sensation by ignorant media. … At the bottom of it is a contempt for the law far lower and more cunningly applied than the usual contempt displayed by orthodox criminals.”

So the need is there. Filling it is a different story. A TV station is a media-hungry monster that needs to be fed regularly. TV-Tom.Com has started cautiously with music and purely educational videos but hopefully can progress to a more socially-important role as part of the Reform Tent of our Singing paper clips and corkscrews are just the start.

Internet TV journalism should be all about public interest. Therefore it is well-suited to Creative Commons.


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