EngageMedia Blog

Crossroads in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah

by Nazreen Nizam October 08, 2013

Crossroads Sabah Workshop 1After the completion of our Crossroads workshops in Kuala Lumpur, we started the same initiative in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, to complete our series of training sessions in Malaysia. Even though both cities are located in Malaysia, the situation regarding migrants, refugees and stateless people issues are vastly different.

In Kuala Lumpur, the perspective is more straight forward and we were able to collaborate with many more organizations that are working within the issue. In Kota Kinabalu, however, due to a long history of migration of Filipinos to Sabah and the recent Lahad Datu incident, the issue is much more sensitive and we had to deal it with delicately so as not to cause any uneasiness among the communities there.

The workshop design for KK was also different from KL. Instead of a session every weekend for four to five weeks, we had a workshop stretch of four days. As we were working mostly with citizen journalists and one other resource person from a Filipino migrant’s organization, this design worked better for everyone.

On day one, after an introduction about EngageMedia and our Crossroads project in Malaysia, we started with a session on story ideas and video advocacy. We went through a presentation to understand how videos can be used for advocacy. We also screened a few samples of advocacy videos so that the participants could get some ideas on how they could do theirs.

Crossroads Sabah Workshop 2

Following that, we brainstormed on ideas of issues surrounding the theme and listed down details on each issue through discussion. We then selected the best three out of five ideas and thought together about how they can be turned into a story for their videos. We also had a discussion on who would be their target audience and what the messages and goals for their videos would be.

Day two was a session on storyboarding. Here, the participants refined their story ideas by turning them into storyboards. After presentations of all the storyboards, we then went through the six basic camera shots. Samples of videos were shown with explanations on the purpose of each shot.

The next day, we conducted a session on shooting which consists of basic camera handling skills and general camera functions such as the auto and manual focus, pan/tilt guidelines, white balance, backlight, and tripod handling. We went through what needed to be prepared before shooting and guidelines for the actual shooting day and the processes that come after the shooting.

On the fourth (and final) day, we focused on video editing and on compression and video distribution. In this session, the participants learned about various editing techniques, frame adjustments, encoding, and uploading/downloading techniques. We also covered video distribution techniques and introduced the theory, concepts and term on video compression.

After this four-day workshop, the participants went to do their shooting in one week, followed by editing sessions for another week. The three videos from Kota Kinabalu will be compiled together with over nine other videos from Kuala Lumpur for the upcoming Crossroads video advocacy toolkit.

Using Video to Support Democracy in Myanmar

by cheekay cinco January 24, 2014

In July 2013, two members of the EngageMedia staff went on a scoping visit to Yangon (Myanmar) and Chiang Mai (Thailand) to see how video is being used by Burmese filmmakers and video-producing organisations to support democracy.

The full report is available for download here: Using Video to Support Democracy in Myanmar

Through interviews, we explored the following topics:

  • topics and themes being covered in their videos;
  • film and video capacity building;
  • distribution practices;
  • archiving practices

We also looked at the political situation, internet access, technical capacities and other social issues in Myanmar that may affect video production, distribution and archiving practices and needs of filmmakers and video-producing organisations.

The organisations we interviewed included the Democratic Voice of Burma, Human Rights Education Institute of Burma (HREIB, Myanmar ICT Development Organisation (MIDO), Yangon Film School, Kamayut Media and Burma News International. We also interviewed filmmakers in Yangon.

Some Highlights from the Report

On Film and Video Capacity Building

There are organisations like the Yangon Film School, and the House of Media Entertainment (HOME) that offer video production training (both for beginners and advanced video makers). There are also opportunities provided for Burmese filmmakers to study abroad. Groups like Kamayut Media offer intensive video journalism training as well.

On Video Distribution Practices

Given the limitations of internet access in Myanmar, online video distribution has been limited. Although many of the filmmakers and video-producing organisations have their channels on Youtube, they really have not thought about online video distribution strategically.

For offline distribution, there is a lot more creativity and strategic-thinking. HOME produces a monthly DVD magazine, Motion Magazine, of short videos and films on human rights, democracy and other social issues. The distribution of this DVD magazine is nationwide through the different National League of Democracy offices and chapters across Myanmar.

Film festivals are also another space where filmmakers are distributing their films locally. There are three annual film festivals in Myanmar:

  • The Art of Freedom Film Festival
  • Human Rights and Dignity Film Festival
  • Watthan Film Festival

These festivals provide an impetus for filmmakers to produce films as well.

For most video-producing organisations, the Democratic Voice of Burma still remains the main distribution channel for broadcasting films and videos.

Some Conclusions

There is an strong, vibrant and growing video field and community in Myanmar. There are opportunities for capacity building and there are examples of creative offline distribution practices. But there is room for growth:

  • connecting Burmese filmmakers to international, Southeast Asian audiences and filmmakers
  • connecting Burmese filmmakers and video-producing organisations to social movements locally and internationally, ensuring that the content being produced by filmmakers can support these movements


Download the report here: Using Video to Support Democracy in Myanmar

Moviemento DVDs available now!

by yerry October 14, 2013

We are delighted to announce that the Moviemento DVD package which features short videos on corruption made by Indonesian youth is now available for distribution.

Several months ago in Balikpapan, Indonesia, we conducted a series of video workshops with the aim to train youth communities who were already campaigning on issues such as gender, the environment, social development, and culture, to produce their own videos that have anti-corruption messages with youth perspectives.

The workshops lasted several weeks, where young activists and students were trained in the skills needed to produce videos about their communities, social circles, and problems in their society.

Some came up videos on an anti-mall development campaign, an effort to protect the city's last forest, an interview with local elders and dancers and many other topics.

You can request copies of the DVD for distribution and screening, or watch them on our website here.

Announcement: Plumi 4.5.1

by Seelan Palay October 08, 2013
We are proud to announce the new release of the Plumi video sharing platform!

Plumi logoThe release Plumi 4.5.1 came after a mini sprint between Unweb and Engagemedia. This release includes updates to the Plone content management system, upon which Plumi is based, bringing in a number of speed and stability enhancements. It also updates the full suite of core back-end software that Plumi relies upon.

We also updated the user interface, making many minor fixes and enhancements, including improvements to social media integration with the video player, the front page and user options.

Trading Dolls with Cameras - Video Workshop with Circa

by Enrico Aditjondro August 12, 2013
"There's always a first time," said the Circa HandMade gang. "When sewing machines are being replaced with video cameras, we get the opportunity to look and appreciate the details of our work."

benangOn June 15-16, EngageMedia teamed up with a group of educators from the Jakarta State University to have a working holiday in Bandung. The cool and fresh air was the holiday, while the working part was doing a video training with a group called Circa HandMade in the village of Cihanjuang, Bandung (West Java).

bonekaCirca was founded by long time creative campaigner named Ukke Kosasih. Several years ago, Ukke, a former staff at The Body Shop, came up with an idea to empower marginalised women by offering them sewing machines.

So, after crossing the Jakarta traffic and into the Bandung traffic, the team of trainers arrived in Cihanjuang on Friday, June 14 evening. A nice cool sleep before the two full training days.

The next morning, we were awoken by a loud blast of dangdut music from a nearby mosque. They were having an event. First challenge of the day - how to record scenes without too much of those dancing noises!

participantsThe workshop students arrived around 8am. There were 10 of them. All women but one guy (well, two guys including myself). The students were all doll makers. The oldest student was Teh Ita, the older sister of Mbak Ukke, and also the co-founder of Circa. The youngest was Iim, 15 years old. The only guy in the team, Aep, was Circa's doll clothes designer.

needleFor the next two days, the workshop went on to share stories, practice operating cameras, write scripts and eat a lot of Sundanese food. In the end, the workshop finished with six videos with stories around the students' work in Circa. I offered to call the video series 'If the Dolls Could Talk', but they thought it was too scary (read: Chucky in Child's Play) and came out with 'Cerita Di Balik Boneka Circa' (Stories Behind the Circa Dolls).

dolls trainersBefore we went home, each trainer was given a doll. I was also given a boy doll. I forgot its name but I called him 'Poa' now. Poa now guards my books.

A day after we left Bandung, all the workshop students shared their experience with other workers who were not able to participate since they had to take care of their children (and husbands, apparently) over the weekend. They said they want to make more and better videos.

Win tickets to the screening of Free Angela and All Political Prisoners

by Indu August 01, 2013
Playing at Melbourne International Film Festival

For Melbourne-based EngageMedia fans,

EngageMedia, in collaboration with Melbourne International Film Festival, is giving away two double passes to the screening on Free Angela and All Political Prisoners on 9PM Monday, 5 August 2013 at Greater Union Cinemas, 131 Russell Street Melbourne.

To enter email contact@engagemedia.org telling us why you deserve those tickets. The deadline to write to us is Sunday, 4 August.

About Free Angela and All Political Prisoners

This gripping feature documentary chronicles how Angela Davis, a young UCLA philosophy lecturer, became one of the world's legendary black radical activists. Pivoting around Davis' involvement in an infamous courthouse hostage case, director Shola Lynch combines extensive archival footage, period recreation and rare present-day access to Davis herself to produce a gripping and epic telling of the story.

Part crime thriller, part courtroom drama, Free Angela and All Political Prisoners captures the revolutionary spirit of the times, aided by a funky 70s soundtrack.

For more info visit Melbourne International Film Festival website.

Crossroads: The Journey So Far

by Seelan Palay April 10, 2014
Crossroads is an EngageMedia-first initiative in Klang Valley, Malaysia. Through a series of workshops, we are working with migrant workers, refugees and stateless people (MRS) from Indonesia, Nepal and Myanmar to produce short advocacy videos of their respective situations in Malaysia.

By Nazreen Nizam and Seelan Palay

Alongside the communities, we also have advocacy workers and a group of citizen journalists from Citizen Journalists Malaysia (CJMY) who work in teams.

Our first session was on storytelling. The objective of this session was for the participants to get to know each other, share their stories and experiences and build up strong and significant storylines. The second session was on video advocacy. In this session, participants were introduced on how to develop plans for their videos to be better used for advocacy purposes.

After the initial sessions, we continued with the storyboarding session – in which the participants learned about visual framing and script development. The teams discussed on how to refine their story ideas and came up with their respective storyboards. They then presented their storyboards and finalized their storyboards based on feedback from the trainer and other participants.

The next session was
on pre-filming, camera handling and an introduction to the shooting of footages. This was a more practical session as the participants were exposed to the basics of camera handling and the six basic types of shots. Following that, we had a video security and shooting session. In this session, we covered video security skills, advanced camera handling/care and the participants then produced their own short video clips with cut-aways.

The next two sessions were focused on video editing. In these sessions, the participants learnt about various editing techniques, transitions, and other audio, video and frame adjustments.

EngageMedia CrossroadsThe last group session of the Crossroads project in Klang Valley was on video compression and distribution. Here, we covered video distribution techniques and introduced the theory, concepts and terms surrounding video compression. We also had a review of the first drafts of the videos produced by the teams.

We plan to have the final drafts of videos from Klang Valley ready by the third week of August. We are also now preparing to start a series of workshops for the project in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.

Moviemento: Balikpapan Follow-Up Workshop

by yerry May 31, 2013

Hello EM lovers,

We just got back from 3 full days of workshops with a dozen young people in Balikpapan, East Kalimantan, Indonesia.

Over several hours each day, we were conducting follow-up training sessions for about 10 to 13 participants. Using many fun methods, we plan to develop five interesting stories which would strongly relate with youth issues and young people in Balikpapan.

For this particular workshop, we also brought over a mentor, Zulhiczar from Jogjakarta, who'll stay there till early June to help our young participants to develop their stories and produce videos to ensure that they become storytellers within their own communities.

We were also collaborating with the participants to develop strategies for realistic outreach and video distribution. So stay tuned and look out for more updates from this interesting project!


Introducing Plumi 4.5

by Anna Helme May 19, 2013

Plumi is a free and open source software package you can use to create your own video sharing site, based on Plone and produced by EngageMedia in collaboration with Unweb.me. It is a powerful video-sharing web application, with a full set of sophisticated online video community features, out of the box. We use a slightly customised version of Plumi to run EngageMedia.org, so you can check it out in action here, or on the Plumi demo site.

Plumi 4.5 was soft-launched at the beginning of the year. Now that it’s been running smoothly for a while, we’d love to introduce you to all the new features and improvements.

New User Interface


The first thing you’ll notice about Plumi 4.5 is the beautiful new skin. Right out of the box you will be pleased to see a shiny new visual theme, with a grid-layout and contemporary styling, just right for a video sharing site.

On the front page of the new Plumi skin you can view all the latest videos that have been uploaded, plus feature a video in the slot on top, ready to play back using mediaelement.js player – an HTML5 player that will work in any modern browser.


You can also customise Plumi’s visual theme for your own needs, and in Plumi 4.5 it is easier using a new implementation of the Diazo theming engine and plone.app theming. Diazo allows you to apply a theme contained in a static HTML web page to a dynamic website created using any server-side technology. With Diazo, you can take an HTML wireframe created by a web designer and turn it into a theme for Plumi.

Mobile Friendly Adaptive Layout

The site is designed to adapt to different screen sizes, and videos will play back on both Android and iOS devices.

New Video Publishing Form

publishA new video publishing form makes it even easier for users to upload video to a Plumi site. Just drag’n'drop or click browse to select a video file, and watch it upload in the new progress indicator, while you add metadata to your video.

You can click over to another dynamically loaded page as you upload, where you can categorise the film and add a Creative Commons license.

Subtitling Using Amara

We have integrated Amara (formerly Universal Subtitles) which allows users of your Plumi site to easily add or view subtitles for each video, created or attached to the video using the Amara system. Watch the video above to learn more about how easy it is to use Amara, which is a powerful addition to Plumi in terms of accessibility, and use in multi-lingual websites.

Other Improvements

Other fixes and improvements since our last stable release (Plumi 4.4) include replacing making upload of large files more stable, fixing some errors with fullscreen video playback and updating our HTML5 video player.

Plumi Roadmap

We are looking forward to a 4.5.1 release that may include some more work on the user interface, followed by 4.6 in which we plan to integrate videos that are hosted on other sites, and new features designed to enhance the ability to use Plumi for social change impact.

You can read all about Plumi over on the new Plumi blog.

You can read the full list of Plumi video-sharing and other features here.

EngageMedia at the 3rd Mekong ICT Camp

by Seelan Palay May 16, 2013

Mekong ICT Camp 2013In early May, we facilitated and participated in the 3rd Mekong ICT Camp, held in Cha-Am, Thailand. Over the course of the five-day event, we held presentations on video advocacy, video distribution, and online subtitling.

The camp is a biannual training workshop on information, communication, and technologies for citizen media, community health, and civil society development in the Mekong sub-region (specifically Burma, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam). The group of over 60 participants included developers, journalists, and social workers.

Mekong ICT Camp 2013Our sessions were the only ones focusing on the use of video for campaign purposes, which attendees felt would be very useful in the development of their work.

We also took part in the other series' of sessions such as 'Open Street Maps'. The various examples of open mapping tools being used for social change in the Mekong region would have a lot of value if they were shared among other networks in Southeast Asia.

The experience of learning and sharing at the camp, and the networking opportunities that it provided, was timely and essential, as we look into visiting Burma in the near future.