Video-sniffing is a method of tuning into wireless CCTV cameras and networks to record and see what the budget cams can pick up. What started out as a game for some tech-experimenters became a methodology for artists looking to take back control of their urban environment. I was one.
One of the best known CCTV movies ever made! Moving beyond the fixed-camera limitations of video-sniffing I made this widescreen free-running dance short by turning the 160 cameras of the Manchester Arndale shopping centre into my own environmental TV studio – directing via telephone from the bomb-proof control room. Winner of Audience 3rd Prize at the sidewalkCINEMA Festival and shortlisted for the Big Issue Short Film Festival. A subsequent city-wide musical has yet to be fully realised!
Replacing Money with Imagination
Webcams, mobile phones, action-cams, lo-fi pocket digital cameras, even old school VHS are all tech to be repurposed by the no-budget filmmaker. I've tried them all. What began as experiments in CCTV during my time as part of arts collective MediaShed led to a collaboration with New York gallery Eyebeam to develop a user-generated 'how-to' website of budget filmmaking tools to help give a creative voice to people on low incomes anyway in the world.
e.g. how to video-sniff
My webcam chatroom dance short 'Computer Love' – an online version of the balcony scene from 'Romeo and Juliet' – received a Special Mention by the jury at the VideoDansa Barcelona International Competition, IDN Festival.
Media coverage received from the Guardian, Arena magazine, Newsweek, the New York Times, Reuters, the Manchester Evening News, Showreel, BBC NW, More4 News, BBC Radio 5, Danish Radio, and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Plus my experimental surveillance films continue to be included in university papers and screened around the world!