Go Videos for Teaching and Broadcasting
Go Club Milano
Encouragement Award 2012
The Go Club Milano has been distributing free online lessons over the Internet since 2010 using its YouTube channel and has been broadcasting the finals of the Italian Championship since 2001 using various services (usually ustream.tv).
The format of our online course is a Go Club lesson held around a goban, with club members participating and asking questions to the teacher and providing feedback. We don’t show people, only the goban from an overhanging camera, hands and voices. That maximizes the visual quality of the important area of the show, the goban. An online viewer will still get a feeling of participating to the life of the Club and is able to recognize the club members s/he’s familiar with. This increases the sense of community. Lessons are recorded in the main room of the Go Club.
We totaled more than 8,700 views so far. That’s a good number given the size of the Italian go community. On average that is about 44 views per every member of the Italian Go Federation.
What we aim to is creating an archive of lessons in Italian language that will assist people in learning Go. Our courses addressed the players that got past the first phase of learning Go and want to progress to the single digit kyu and first dan ranks, but we’re planning introductory courses as well.
The fundamentals of Go don’t change much, so any lesson we record now will be useful for a long time in future and is a great investment for us.
Other countries might want to create a similar archive in their own language. Knowledge of English is becoming ever more common but it’s still a limiting factor for the people that can’t understand the explanations of teachers expressing themselves in that language.
The instructor prepares the lesson in advance with books, game reviews, problem collections, etc.
The lesson is recorded with an overhanging camera.
The postproduction phase consists of cleaning up the audio and editing the video to cut out the pauses and the less interesting phases that would cost time to online viewers without adding information. That’s done on a computer with a number of possible software tools, many of them available for free.
The resulting video is uploaded to YouTube and included into the Go Club site with references to the sources of the materials used in the lesson.
One or more teachers, a camera, a stand for the camera, one or more people to post process the video, an internet connection to upload the video, storage to backup videos for when we’ll have to reprocess them or upload to another video service.
What we’re looking for is a better camera, a better stand and more storage. The setup we’re using now can’t work in other environments and it limits our initiatives. For instance we couldn’t put a camera over the board when we broadcasted the final of the last Italian Championship.
Furthemore the camera quality is poor and the recorded audio is noisy.
A better setup would use a real camera, a microphone and a camera crane, and at least a 1 TB USB hard disk for backups.
Possibilities of copying this project
The tools to replicate the project are commonly available. The expertise to select the right tools and use them in the right way is less common. It can be learned by trial and error but we’ll be delighted to provide a training package to instruct other Clubs all around Europe.
We already gave suggestions to other groups in Italy and to the national Federation when they planned to start similar initiatives and we can produce notes or live lessons using screen sharing tools (e.g.: Skype desktop sharing).
The knowledge of which data to backup and in which format is also not commonly available to non specialists of software and hardware. We’ll include that in our training package.