« Invite Admiral Fallon to Tell Us if We're Safer | Main | Our Blabby Director of National Intelligence »

September 11, 2007


For some reason the "click here to view larger" link pops up two windows for me -- the correct one, plus an extra blank one you have to close to see the video. Sorry about that, but I'm so pleased with myself that the quicktime is embedded in the post that I'm going to quit while I'm ahead!

the presentations I have seen are high quality, but the "green screen" they used to put the speaker in front of the slides is poorly implemented. Even so, I plan on assigning some of these....

the third man, this is very much a first pass attempt -- the idea of having a speaker interact with his or her own slides seems obvious coming from the slick world of TV but it's pretty remarkable to see scientists getting in on the act! So, I'm sure it will improve with experience. I should add that it's not only the technology that's limiting here, but the scientists themselves -- most of them are completely unpracticed at giving a talk in front of a green screen, or at giving a seminar on video for a general audience for that matter!

In short, if it's true that politics is show business for ugly people, then you might say that science is politics for inarticulate people -- it's rare to find a good communicator, and videos like these show how even the cream of the crop are not at the level you're used to seeing on a PBS show. But these folks are the best, and they're very smart, so I expect the learning curve will be rapid. We've only begun to play with this medium...

let me know how they work for you as an assignment, I'd be interested in hearing reactions. And (this goes for all readers here) don't forget to leave feedback on the iBioSeminars site -- I think they will be interested to hear how people are using it & what kind of audience they're reaching, and to know what they can do better. Tell 'em you saw it at TNH ;)

Beg to differ, many of these folks are all exceptional communicators, that's why they were chosen. They also are so accustomed to lecturing and teaching - it is second nature. I just think they could have pulled it off better with a box on the side with the speaker and the slide. I just found the production techniques distracting from the solid presentations.

exactly -- like I said, these are the cream of the crop (there are many other scientists who are great researchers but poor communicators -- the ones represented in this series are the rare birds who do both well). And, yes, they're very used to lecturing with slides in a traditional seminar (or classroom) format, which I think is why you feel they'd be better off sticking with the speaker in one window and the slides next door -- that's the kind of talk they're giving. but, imo, the green screen production has a lot of possibilities once the scientists figure out how to modify their style to work better with it (and take the time to redesign their standard talk slides to make them better suited to interaction).

or at least, that was the intention: (from the ASCB newsletter)

The format of iBioSeminars is unlike any academic Internet-based project to date. First, speakers are filmed in a studio. Using chroma key technology, the speaker is digitally superimposed on his/her PowerPoint slides, creating a personal and engaging visual format.

but like you said, it still feels funny. I think it's just that they're doing it for the first time and aren't used to that format yet. I think it will pay off once they adapt.

fyi, the "next generation" of this series is meant to have English and foreign-language subtitles available (the goal of the project is to increase access to high-quality seminars for the global community as well as the smaller, less high-profile US institutions that the top-tier speakers don't always make it to).

third man has a point - I've seen Elaine Fuchs work double screens in front of thousands with the style and elan of a David Copperfield, but she seems a little stilted here.

Regardless, they will get better, and these things will be fantastic archives of some of our top basic scientists at the top of their game

And don't forget that the ASCB are king heckfire lobbyists for NIH and NSF funding programs; they also have great highschool and minority outreach programs.

This from a card carrying member - and I'm not even American - ha!

thanks so much emptypockets!

here are two sites fwiw:


the archeology channel

I like the enormous hand that pops in and cleans the corner of my Quickview window at the beginning of the IGF-1 slide in the organism growth presentation.

This is one of my favorites, and you can have it come via email.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Where We Met

Blog powered by Typepad