Tag Archives: video

I am the spirit of dark and lonely water 

14 Apr

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a real and quite irrational fear of what I call ‘organised water’. This is basically water which has pooled or been channelled somewhere it shouldn’t be: a quarry, an aqueduct, a construction site, a canal, a reservoir. There’s no reason for it, I’ve never had a bad experience with water or known anyone who has.

ladybower sinkhole sink hole reservoir scarfolk. gemma critchley. blog

This fills me with dread. Image: FlickRiver.com

I suspect most people will have their own irrational fears. You might have stayed up after watching horror films, scared to go to sleep, listening out for noises that aren’t there. Maybe even years after watching, you remember feeling frightened and won’t revisit that particular film.

Turns out it’s not just horror films that do this. I recently discovered the BFI’s public information films collection: a treasure trove of sinister warnings, glittering darkly and crackling with the threat of doom.

One of the best examples of this is Lonely Water, a film that was designed to warn kids away from playing in unsafe water. I wasn’t even born until almost a decade after it was made, but I (think I) remember seeing this, or a variation of it at primary school as a kid.

The film was made in 1973, but it has all the hallmarks of what I’d consider to be an effective video for learning today:

  • The film’s approach is rooted in the Affective Context model. It makes you feel something; the Donald Pleasence voiceover is straight out of a Halloween film and the use of the hooded figure is just disturbing enough to jolt you out of your reality.
  • It has a clear objective: to stop children from drowning by showing the dangers of ‘lonely water’.
  • It understands its audience and appeals to their fears to make the message stick.
  • It’s short – under two minutes long: something many people forget the importance of today.
  • It has a compelling narrative and sub-story, separate to the voiceover: you want to know what happens to the boy who goes swimming.

In a time when filmmaking has never been more accessible, it’s good to take a step back and look at what makes a compelling, effective film, especially when it comes to creating film for learning. It’s refreshing to see that the stuff that was terrifying in 1973 works just as well at scaring the living daylights out of me today; and that somewhere along the line, the message from the film stuck with me. That’s Affective Context in action.

It’s hard to believe it wasn’t made by Scarfolk Council, but was instead produced by the UK government.


scarfolk council BFI public information film lonely water gemma critchley

Image: Scarfolk.blogspot.com


If you want to see more, the whole collection is available on the BFI Player.

Warning: may contain scenes that some viewers may find disturbing…


Film in learning – Learning Technologies Hangout, 2015

18 Feb

I took part in a Google Hangout as part of Learning Technologies 2015, talking about storytelling, social media, film and learning. Have a look here and let me know what you think. I talk about how I’m using video to engage learners, how I’m using content marketing techniques to connect with people and how we use social media to foster peer-to-peer sharing of knowledge through film.

Are you using video for learning in your organisation? How’s that working out for you? Want to get together to share best practice? Let me know!

I did a talk at this conference too, and I’ll share the video of that as soon as it’s available.

Hope it helps to inspire you to get out there and start using video to support your learners.

#oneaday 125: people are amazing

19 May

My friend at work showed me this video today. I absolutely love it. Not because it’s about love, or marriage, or because I wish it’d happen to me (I don’t). I just love the idea that someone would care about someone so much that they’d go to that massive effort to put all of that together. It’s awesome. Enjoy:

If you’re ever feeling a bit down on the world, watch something like this and remind yourself that amazing people exist. People are generally nice and mostly good-hearted. They do things because they care about other people. They make fools of themselves to raise a smile. They go to extreme lengths to show that they care. People are great.

#oneaday 104: you can have a little rave with your feet in the sea

15 Apr

At work this week we were talking about festivals abroad. We stumbled across The Garden Festival in Croatia, and spent a good few minutes both laughing at how mashed everyone is in the 2010 video and marvelling at how much fun it all looks. Check out the chap about a third of the way through the 2010 Garden Festival video. And I quote…

“You can have a little rave with your feet in the sea, you can have a little rave with your feet up here…”

the garden festival petracane croatia rave sea

What a legend.

Here’s to party casualties and festival adventurers everywhere.

#one a day 5 – fairytale endings for the homeless voiceover man

5 Jan

This is the first Wishlist Wednesday post of #oneaday. It’s not really a wishlist this week, I don’t feel like I actually want anything after such an excessive festive season. So, I think I’ll just talk about something that made me smile today.

Someone sent this video around at work. I love how this homeless man with a golden voice for radio had 50 job offers and over 5 millions hits on YouTube. The power of the internet, eh.
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