Waiting for the Sergeant Pepper Moment

Front cover of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Clu...

Front cover of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, “probably the most famous album cover in popular musical history”Ashplant Smyth 2001, p. 185. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ll be chairing one of the featured panels at IBC this year called, “Waiting for the Sergeant Pepper Moment,” looking at the potential technology has to change the way we make television. You can read about the panel at the IBC website.

In 1967, The Beatles released their album “Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” a watershed in modern music and the first time a mainstream band created music expressly for vinyl, as opposed to its being a mere recording of a traditional performance. The studio technology itself was used as an instrument, and songs written to exploit the potential of cutting edge technology. The album led directly to the world of music-making we have today – fluid, playful, technological and reflective of modern consciousness.

Forty-six years on, we have creative technologies that make the Beatles’ Abbey Road equipment look like stone axes and wooden spears. Still, the way we create and tell stories has remained virtually unchanged for a century. We cling to a Victorian-era workflow and are still obsessed with the “film look” – the visual equivalent of adding hiss and crackle to an audio recording. Even when powerful digital systems are employed, a great deal of effort is expended to tame these tools and the artists who use them to behave like their analogue-era predecessors, then we use them to tell stories that would be familiar to the Lumiere Brothers.

We are still waiting for our “Sergeant Pepper Moment”, when new technology and visual storytelling meet to tell stories in tune with contemporary ways of viewing the world.

I’ve also been interviewed by Broadcast Technology Europe about the focus of the session: http://bcove.me/vq228h35