Click into TV stardom
Next level: Online, self-produced shows such as Leo Dale's Swampy's World challenge exisiting TV broadcast models.
A s the great Bob Dylan warbles, ''the times, they are a-changin''', though perhaps not in the way the singing social commentator supposed in 1964.
Technology, spread by the torrents of zeroes and ones surging through the web of fibre-optic cables wrapping our planet, is changing our lives at light speed. Old rules have been hurled aside in retail trading, music delivery, newspapers, radio, education and more. And it's only just starting. Innovation, inspiration and change are making dents in and sometimes exploding whole industries. But despite the upheaval, their genesis is often small. The technology is here, the cost modest, even free. All you need is inspiration and intellectual perspiration.
Leo Dale, who lives in Footscray, says he has seen the future and it is full of promise. Dale is a jazz musician, a videographer, music curator and yogi. He is also an artistic photographic chronicler of his time (see an example here).
He is of the rising trend that says network TV is the next big industry to be challenged by the internet and entrepreneurs large and, like him, small. It's happening in a massive way through YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other engines.
Apple technology opened the door for Dale, helped by a grant from Maribyrnong council. With his MacBook Pro, a Canon 5D Mark II camera, some good lenses and audio equipment and Apple's Final Cut Pro and Logic Pro software, he has set about establishing, on the internet, what amounts to the Footscray television station. But, because it streams on the internet, Footscray is open to the world.
The biggest problem now is bandwidth, Dale says. ''The NBN is due to reach my house this year. That's going to revolutionise things,'' he says.
Dale started with a website called Digital Pill, part instructional, part showcase for local musicians. Now he is making his first episodic ''internet TV'' show, Swampy's World, which shows that a homeless man, because he is homeless with nothing to lose, has total freedom to say what he likes about the world. Melbourne actor-writer Ross Daniels wrote the script and plays Old Swampy. Dale shot and edited the footage and wrote the music. Phil Greenwood helped with the camera, Nichaud Fitzgibbon sang the songs and Dave Evans played accordion.
The point to note here is that, while Dale now uses several thousand dollars' worth of equipment, the outlay is peanuts compared with a network's costs. The internet allows bids for a place in this tsunami of opportunity with what these days counts as amateur or, at most, ''prosumer'', gear.
But video must be HD. To save money you could use iMovie instead of Final Cut and WavePad (from Australian software house NCH) rather than Logic. Everything's there; anyone can go for it. YouTube is now the vast repository of videos ranging from magical to damnable. Dale's productions from the beginning were broader and different - more soul, one thinks.
Swampy's World and other productions to come go well beyond YouTube. But they all speak for and of talented people out there in the suburbs, in this case Melbourne but it could be anywhere, offered by people who strive and truly care.