User-generated content (UGC) is becoming a standard feature of sports events, festivals and concerts, as audience members increasingly collect and share their own videos using social media. COGNITUS used large scale live events as a setting to assess the feasibility of the project. Two main Use Cases (UC), were trialled via use case demonstrators. In both instances, the aim was to engage participants in different types of live events, and evaluate:
- The audience’s willingness to create high quality participative content
- How easily this kind of UCG can be integrated into the broadcast production process
- How the audience responds to the enhanced experience, and whether they are likely to consume similar content in the future
- Whether there is a significant issue of quality variation between audience sourced and professional content
Use Case 1: Engaging the Audience as Camera Crew
Traditional broadcasters are limited by finite resources; in other words, cameras can only be placed in so many places at once. UGC at large scale live events, e.g. a football match, increases the number of cameras present to a level that no broadcaster can emulate, and provides many additional potential shots and camera angles, plus audio content. Encouraging audience members to share their video for use in event footage means viewers are actively, rather than passively, engaged with the coverage.
Use Case 2: ‘More Like Being There’ – Covering geographically‐spread events
UGC is also the key to providing truly immersive experiences of large or geographically disparate live events such as multi-stage music festivals or marathons. In these situations, broadcasters have traditionally had to prioritise collecting footage with the highest levels of audience pull, therefore more niche content and less popular locations necessarily fell by the wayside. By contrast, members of the public have access to a potentially limitless number of locations which main broadcast footage does not capture. Content collected by members of the public provides esoteric video and audio that adds an authenticity to professional footage, by conveying what it’s like to be “down on the ground” at a major event.
The Edinburgh Festival Fringe provided an ideal opportunity to deploy COGNITUS in the field. Our mobile app users captured performers in the streets, crowds and the ambience of the events across the city. We visited the Fringe in 2017 for initial tests, and in the Fringe and Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo 2018 for large scale deployments. See what our users filmed at the Edinburgh Festivals 2017 and the Edinburgh Festivals 2018.