Friday, 27 January 2012

Thanet District Council Webcast 19th January Council Meeting about the budget, Margate Football Club and so on.


The thing with local government here in Thanet is that one is inclined to get something that is both not very good and expensive, the webcasts of the council meetings fall into this bracket.

For the rest of us who live in the normal world outside local government, putting a video on the internet costs us nothing and the end result is something that is much more usable than what the council have done.

You have to appreciate that apart from the times when their equipment fails the council makes video recordings of their meetings anyway, they even produce dvds of these meetings.

What they have put on the internet is only slightly larger in size than a postage stamp and after a very short time of trying to peer at it with my reading glasses I looked for alternatives.

They have disabled the facility to enlarge the video and don’t provide the embed code for it either, so to view their very small version go to http://www.thanet.gov.uk/council_meeting_webcast-1.aspx

Alternatively download the video file from their website http://www.thanet.gov.uk/files/CMmeetingJan12.flv right clicking on the link and selecting save target as should do the trick. You can then open it with one of the free video players, the best one of these is http://www.videolan.org/vlc/ mind you untick the boxes for the stuff you don’t want on the way, or you will make something your homepage and put some strange programs that you probably don’t want on your computer.

Doing it this way you can at least identify the people in the webcast although the quality is still fairly poor.


The message that publishing the webcast in this way sends out to me is that either the officers are ashamed of the councillors or they are ashamed of the democratic process.


As you can see from the video below, published by TDC to their youtube account, the council do have a youtube account and what they publish to it has good quality definition and all of the usual versatility associated with youtube. 


I do wonder if the intention here – no press release, only a small link with no picture on the council’s homepage, the small size and poor quality – is intended to minimise the number of people viewing it, so the council can say that the interest is so small that it doesn’t justify webcasting these meetings.
I will write some more about this when I have seen more of the webcast.

5 comments:

  1. Totally agree with your comments about the poor quality of the video. Most mobile phone footage is better than this and the audio is better too. If I didn't know from your comments that the picture wasn't very clear I would have thought that maybe I should go to Specsavers!

    Importantly a lot of comments are inaudible online but you can tell that they are getting reactions from subsequent comments so there needs to be an improvement in sound recording. The poor picture quality is irritating but it is vital that the sound is clear as this is the most important part of the debate and helps makes the decision making process clearer to those who can't attend on the night or those who are there but can't always hear everything that is going on and can review it again online.

    I don't support Councillor Driver's views on flowers and events but I felt that he made some of the more lucid points on the night. Some other views were very poorly put forward in my opinion.

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  2. Totally agree Michael, a very basic camcorder would provide better quality. The sound constantly being censored is terrible, it's almost as if they have something to hide.

    Perhaps if someone was to offer to provide the service free for a year they would become more transparent in their dealings and we would get a much clearer picture.

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  3. I couldnt get the December one to run so didnt even bother to try this one. Are the audio problems that the person who is supposed to be speaking isnt being picked up, or is it that their speeches are being broken up by interruptions from others? If you've been to a Full Council meeting before, you will know what I mean.

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  4. I have seen church services recorded by youngsters at school that have recorded better that TDC's offerings. I have tried to watch meetings in the past and if this one is as bad as you say I surgest they contact any of the local churches for advice or doing it properly. If they need any further advice Thanet Campus do degree's on the subject it aintt like we dont have the knowledge here on the Island but I bet TDC will awardd the contract to a firm from the Midlands to come and sort it out WHATCH AND SEE THEM DO JUST THAT

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  5. uNDER the video thing it says any comments about how we are doing so I wrote
    Sir I have just tried and failed to watch your latest webcast. The quality =
    of both sound and picture was appaling and I must say if that is the best y=
    ou can produce you should be ashamed. TDC web as a whole never seems to be =
    current and the TDC websitesthat a surposed to promote local events are woe=
    full. DA Wood
    and then checked my inbox and it was returned I surgest others try I cant be bothered TDC dont ever know how to set up email account what hope for decent video

    ReplyDelete

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