kanalB.at ·labournet.tv
kanalB  the kanalB faq
  political intention, how to join in, and organisational stuff
      why kanalB?
      who is kanalB?
      how can i join kanalB?
      how is kanalB financed?
  distribution of kanalB editions, subscription and screening
      where to get kanalB editions?
      what is a screening?
  video shooting, video converting, upload and technical stuff
      tips for shooting video clips
      how to convert to OGG format
      videoclip upload
  tips for web workers
      for web workers and bloggers, how to link videos and pics
  data protection and licences
      user data
      licences of kanalB videos

political intention, how to join in, and organisational stuff
  why kanalB?  
  kanalB is an internet-based political video activist project. Since the year 2000, thanks to the internet, accessable video equipment, and low priced server space, kanalB has been able to broadcast and produce documentaries covering movements for social justice, while providing independent political analysis, and introducing alternative solutions.

kanalB declines the consesus of the mass media which implies that we are living in the best of all possible worlds. We are fighting against what we see as a system in which the prevailing economical and social order is deeply violent and exploitative and in need of social alternatives.

This text will introduce kanalB in its political and media context, showing the structure, development, and targets of video activism, followed by the relationship between kanalB and the mass media by offering concrete examples.

kanalB in an activist context

kanalB associates itself with the anti-globalization movement. This movement, which unites disparate social organiztions and individuals under the common cause of social justice, was first seen in the 1990's beginning with Seattle (World Bank gathering, 1999), and continuing on to Prague (Gathering of World Bank and IMF, 2000) and Genoa (G8 Summit, 2001), where the first kanalB documentaries were recorded.

This movement has led to a renaissance of video activism. Due to the possibilities of mass communication via the internet it has functioned as a worldwide means of political expression. The large interest in video activism and independent media coverage reflect the lack of critical, unbiased, coverage in the mainstream media. In times when the global media landscape is owned by little more than a handful of corporate groups, and the exception- news channel Al-Jazeera, is being 'accidentely' bombed by the command of George W. Bush, the distrust against mainstream media coverage has been raised as well as the need for alternative coverage.

It is our view that media activism and independent media are essential. The interp: 'As the neoliberal modell is constantly reducing its efforts to compensate social ruptures by actions of the social state, thus forced to provide a more and more elaborate image policy, the importance of electronical images has grown as means of government-stabilizing PR-methods.'

The Problem with the Media

'The characteristic of civil media coverage, as for journalism in general, is the incoherence of all details. Everything is blabbed out, thrown into one stockpot, no contexts are pointed out, everything is one nonsense, without analysis, just torn apart stuff, just covered for some punchline, with no societal connection.' (Weiss 1981)

What Peter Weiss has stated in 1981 is still relevant: instead of having the mainstream media cover comprehensively, so that basic contexts can be identified, they only report on disparate singularities. The one seeking clear sociopolitical analysis is seeking in vain. The mainstream media is seemingly not interested in an audience which can get an appropriate picture of a procedure or situation.

One example of this is the breakdown of the Argentinian economy in December 2001. The mainstream media therefore also does not function in a critical capacity that judges incidents by decision whether they serve the public welfare or not. Much less is it showing any commitment for a just and charitable social order.

In mainstream television there are narrow confines for political coverage: film makers and editors could tell countless stories of corrupt nature of political infuence, of rejection of would-be 'hot' topics, misleading editorial practices, revocation of air-time, et cetera. The existience of initiatives such as the 'Netzwerk Recherche' (Network Inquest), that stand for the protection of investigative journalism in the TV-stations under public law, proves these facts in their own way.

From those facts the following conclusion can be drawn: the mainstream media is not only covering stories, but also obscuring them. The message forwarded by the mainstream media suggests that we are living in the best of all societies. They support this story through the permanent suppression of facts and issues. This attitude has led to a mental climate where questioning the prevailing economical and social order in general is taboo.

Capitalism is presented as as the only possible economical system. Denying this is perceived as either childish or objectionable. The fact that exploitation constitutes its basis is not regarded as a problem. Vocabularies such as 'added value' or 'diverging ranks' are not mentioned on the daily news show. It seems even more impossible to explore the neocolonial trading connections between the industrial nations and the rest of the world. Instead civil media broaches the issue of WTO conferences and G8 summits as if they were beneficials to peoples of poor nations. For people that inform themselves outside of mainstream media, this constitutes an unbearably audacious propaganda lie. The fact that it is possible for such a conclusion, so far away from the truth, to be recognized as common sense, is a dispiriting proof of the self-affirming atmosphere and the analytical influence of mainstream media.

It is easy to criticize a system that is based on humans producing value with their work while there are others that are benefitted by that value. One could argue that we are living in a world where thousands of people are starving to death every day and where millions spend their lives in miserable poverty, even though given the amount of resources it would be easy to supply a dignified life to everyone. If all information and points of view were given equal weight in the mainstream media, then the powers-that-be would have difficulty defending their views. But there is no need for this type of justification, as the mass media offers little challenge to the status quo and few alternatives to mass media exist. Left-wing media basically does not exist in comparison to the strength of the mainstream media. For example, if kanalB sells hundreds of dvd's and our subscribers organize a score of podium discussions, while at the same time, millions of television sets in living rooms worldwide ensure us that misery will be eliminated very soon, the alternative media suffers in its ability to reach large numbers of people.

Small projects like kanalB have an necessary agitating function. We want to encourage the audience to become politically engaged. If we pick up one of the notoriously ignored topics such as the circumstances under which refugees in the FRG are being treated, we also try to point out that this treatment is a symptom of an authoritarian and cruel society. It is also shown that there are groups which are working on changing this order. But if something should really change, the spectators have to engage themselves, too.


Video activism started in the late 1960's. The introduction of the first hand-held videocamera with recorder (Sony Porta Pack), which was fairly affordabe, leading to high expectations for independent productions. Video was perceived a challenge of the then new medium Television, which itself was criticized for its tendency of pushing the spectator into a passive, receptive role and thus blocking away any critical discourse. Video, it was hoped, would give the opportunity for active participation in an open (media) public and creation of discourse.

Since the 1990's, by means of easily manageable digital editing software, it is possible for anyone to create professional-quality movies on their home PC. The general media competency and the widespread availability of technical equipment has made indepently-produced media a reality for the general public.

The expansion of the internet gave new possibilities for communicating with geographically remote projects. This made it possible for individuals to publish independent video productions to a larger audience, and for the first time provide independent news available for mass consumption. (In contrary to the US, where many media activist groups are broadcasting on free channels).

The hopes brought forward by the introduction of the video-cam, the development of better technique and of the internet yet have not become true: one can of course not seriously speak of a total democratisation of the flow of information, while public television is the spindoctor nr. 1. But the usage of internet and its platforms is constantly growing, leading sometimes to a merge of producers and consumers.


The mass media references a public which they have invented themselves, and which historically doesn't exist. The domination of media in the hands of the few reduces the role of the individual in the public discourse to that of spectator (aside from the periodical ceremony of ballot completion). That these dynamics fail to stimulate the democratic process is unsurprising.

The work of kanalB it is not only in facts research, film production, and content delivery. kanalB also functions as a networking center for media activists as well as for the distribution of their work and thus increasing the opprtunity for the success of mutual and individual projects. The re-capture or creation of public space, such as kanalB, is playing a central role in activist communication and coordination.

The activist approach of broadcasting information has therefore always been to present and create a more accurate view of the public. It is not only the concern of kanalB to facilitate and stimulate a 'real' public discourse, but also the media space itself shall become a public space in which communication can develop. kanalB or Indymedia thus function as open media spaces, where the individual is included in the process of information production leading to the diversification of the media world as well as to a decentralization of media production. The development of online television will potentially increase attention to the internet and the projects represented in it.

Video activist productions, including kanalB-productions, are dedicated to documenting demonstrations and protest activities objectively. One important reason of filming is the prevention and repression of police violence. The incidents in Genoa in 2001 and the EU summit in Gothenburg have proven this a necessity. These are productions which don't find their space in common mass media. Additionally, kanalB produces documentaries focusing on news events ignored by the regular media, or presenting alternative points of view on the popular issues of the day.

Important in this matter is the identity-creating function of media activism. The media project covers activities and demonstrations and represents the opinion of dissident activism, thus documenting and proving the existence of a social movement and its philosophy. Media activism draws attention to important facts and arguments and brings them into public discourse. kanalB believes in the it is much rather the concern to break the myth of objectivity delivered by the mass media and to take on a clear attitude. And of course kanalB wants to spur on this attitude and its own world view.

How does kanalB work?

The content of kanalB is primariy distributed via the internet. kanalB.org offers nearly 2000 video clips which can be watched and downloaded for free. The internet also is the medium for broadcasting events close to the time when they are happening. When such an 'almost-live' -coverage is planned, the team goes to the location of the event, shoots videos in the daytime and publishes them in the evening. Additionally the coverage is amended by links to further artikels and websites.

For example, in the past there has been coverage from the G8-Summit in Genoa 2001 and from Argentina in 2001 shortly after the economy there collapsed. Another coverage was on a tribunal for human rights, organized by Columbian social movements, where transnational corporates as Coca-Cola, Nestl� and Chiquita were accused. The companies have to face accusations of massive violation of human rights, violent persecution of labour unions and cooperation with right-wing paramilitary units. In Juni 2007 kanalB was part of g8-tv.org, a union of activists and media activist groups from all over Europe to cover the g8-summit in Heiligendamm.

Besides coverage, longer documentaries and documentation of political events, there are interview sequences with left-wing theoreticians and scientists such as Jutta Dittfurth, John Holloway, Elmar Altvater, Christoph Speer, Robert Kurz and Darwin Dante who speak about alternative concepts of society.

Most video clips on kanalB.org are produced in-house. However the website remains available to other political groups and video activists for the publishing of their clips and documentaries. The films relate in form and content to certain criterias, forming the base of kanalB: and that is professional-quality work that supports a position in favor of social justice.

A video magazine is published every three months and is currently in its 31st edition. There are 250 subscribers and sustaining members for the magazine. It is released in DVD and high-resolution AVI formats, include a documentary or a sequel of short movies, and can be purchased for 10 Euro. Copies can be purchased in Berlin bookstores or by direct order. kanalB's customers, sustaining members, and subscribers include political groups, trade unionists, students and other interested persons. What divides our users from other media consumers is that many of our users are using the films for political work and often organize screenings. For example, the documentary 'Des Wahnsinns letzter Schrei' (Rage of Insanity) about the reformation of the employment market in Germany is often used by labour unions as political work for education.
  who is kanalB?  
  kanalB is an internet forum for video activism and a video magazine. it is run by a small Berlin based group, as well as a tiny Viennese group that take care of the pages, produce the editions, organize the distribution and support the infrastructure.
  how can i join kanalB?  
  kanalB.org is a forum. this means that you can, for example, publish video clips on the webpage (see technical description), organize performances, or bring in your ideas.

we have an open meeting in the kanalB office on each first Tuesday of the month at 7 p.m. our office is located in Kiehlufer 65, 12059 Berlin.

in case you have shot a video film and would like to distribute it via kanalB, please contact us.

writing subtitles to videos just click on "add subtitles" with the video you would like to dub. a subtitle editor explains each step of the procedure. you will also find an interactive help menu (in case something goes wrong, the computer will provide alternative suggestions)

translating titels and video descriptions some videos in our forum are still lacking the english translation of title and description. with those, you find a "translate" icon at the end of the description, in the subsection "join in". click on it, fill in your translation and send it. or subscribe to our translator-mailinglist and you will get an email evey time a clip is put online that needs to be translated.

would you like to be our graphic designer and design kanalB covers, posters and flyers?

or would you rather be a web worker, write php/mysql scripts, develop games, build in the chat etc. ?
  how is kanalB financed?  
  we are all voluntary workers and finance our infrastructure, office, equipment, server and running costs through our subscribers and from selling our kanalB editions. In addition, for financing bigger film projects, we apply for financial support at various foundations.
distribution of kanalB editions, subscription and screening
  where to get kanalB editions?  
  you can get the editions from either our kanalB shop or from the net

the following stores sell kanalB editions:

in Berlin:

hempgalaxy, liebauerstr. 2, friedrichshain
bbooks, luebbenerstr. 11, kreuzberg
core tex, oranienstr. 3, kreuzberg
galerie neurotitan, rosenthaler str. 39, mitte
kisch & co., oranienstr. 25, kreuzberg
m99, mannteufelstr. 99, kreuzberg
real deal, gneisenaustr. 60, kreuzberg
schwarze risse, gneisenaustr 2a, kreuzberg
schwarze risse, kastanienallee 85, prenzlauer berg
tricky tunes, mainzer Str 8, friedrichshain

in the rest of germany:

MD-Versand & Textildruck, dorfstra�e 17, 16833 dechtow
ahoi, st. pauli, hamburg
onkel otto, bernhard-nocht-strasse, st. pauli, hamburg

in austria:

Alphaville International Video Store, Schleifm�hlgasse 5, 1040 Wien
Hauptb�cherei Wien - Am G�rtel, Urban-Loritz-Platz 2a, 1070 Wien

for sale:
Anarchia Versand
infoladen graz, Lendkai 45
infoladen wels, kulturverein und linke buchhandlung, spitalhof 3 4600 wels tel.: 07242/910432
Infomaden, Wielandgasse 2-4, 1100 Wien (EKH, Portiersloge)

if you would also like to offer kanalB editions, please let us know!
  what is a screening?  
  at screenings, kanalB editions are shown in public. this happens at informational events, at parties or at kanalB movie nights. a lot of political groups or youth organisations are kanalB subscribers and organize screenings when a new edition appears. these screenings are then used as an input for follow-up discussions.

we welcome open kanalB screenings - so if you want to organize a screening yourself, let us know. if you show kanalB editions in public and at the occasion of an event that takes entrance fees, you haves to ask for a screening licence. the licence costs 50,- euros or whatever amount you are able to provide..

in any case you can advertise your event here!

let us know, if you want our cover motives!
video shooting, video converting, upload and technical stuff
  tips for shooting video clips  
  the length of a clip is a matter of taste and depends on the material. we suggest about three minutes for single clips. if you have a lot of material, then just make several clips out of it, so we can sum the up under one "topic".

it is quite helpful to think about the content of your clip beforehand or while shooting: you dont have to shoot everything that is in reach of your lens, concentrate on the important stuff. avoid showing too many similar situations, because you could not decide which to take and which not to. this method will help you shortening the cutting time, because you wont have to go through tons of raw material.

to make your videos dynamic and visually interesting, vary the distance of framing or shot scale (close-up, medium close-up, medium shot, medium-long shot, full shot, long shot).

avoid zooming, since the resulting wobbling is very disturbing with focusing. thus, stay in wide-angle and walk up to the object as closely as possible. use your zoom lens only when there is no other way to get closer to your subject. in order to introduce a location, begin with a long shot (establishing shot) that shows the setting or the position of people or objects so that the view remains oriented when the sequence is later broken down into a series of closer shots. also, dont forget to take a long shot every now and then for providing an overview for your audience.

example demonstration: long shot (establishing shot): people gather in a place medium close-up: group of people unpacks a transparent close-up: the writing on the transparent medium-long shot: group joins in demonstration long shot: whole demonstration starts walking etc...

it is up to you how to arrange camera distance. however, editing different shot scales is very helpful for developing a clear visual expression and spatial sense. just try it out yourself!

shot duration: you should always shoot a scenario a couple of seconds longer than you will actually need in your clip, since you can always shorten your shots when cutting. shots containing a lot of information (long shots) need to be longer than shots providing less information (close-ups). keep in mind that your audience will see the image for the first time and thus will need more time for processing the information.

interview situation: with interviews it is best to use a medium close-up focus. make sure to leave a margin in that part of the image, in which the line of vision of the interviewee lies. both eyes should be visible. in doing so you will achieve that the person interviewed is almost looking into the camera, which is crucial, because it is simply more appealing to listen to somebody who is looking in your direction. it is also important to check audio. the microphone should be pretty close to your interview partner. test the sensitivity of your microphones before shooting. if you shoot in a loud surrounding, use dynamic microphones with limited kidney-shaped recording reach (which are not as sensitive as directional microphones).

have fun shooting!
  how to convert to OGG format  
  1) download the latest version of ffmpeg2theora here and save it as "f2t.exe" in the directory where your film is.

2) open a command bash in windows: click, START >> RUN... enter "cmd" >> PRESS ENTER
change to the directory, where your film is: "cd c:\path\name of the directory"

3) enter the following line and replace "inputfile.avi" with the filename of your film

f2t.exe -V 1024 -A 96 -c 2 inputfile.avi

alternativly you can encode more information into the OGG, like this:

f2t.exe -V 1024 -A 96 -c 2 --deinterlace --artist "name of the author" --title "title of the film" --organization "ie kanalB.org" --copyright "ie kanalB" --license "http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/" inputfile.avi

some options desribed:

-V 1024 = kB/sec videoquality, less means less quality, 1024 is projector-friendly ;)
-A 96 = kB/sec audioquality, 96 is like mp3 with 128 kB/sec
-c 1 = mono
-c 2 = stereo
-- deinterlace = if you want to deinterlacen the film

enter "f2t.exe" >> PRESS ENTER to see a full ist of all options available.
  videoclip upload  
  click here to upload your clip to kanalB
tips for web workers
  for web workers and bloggers, how to link videos and pics  
  if you want to add link of a video or picture to you are your website, please add the source of the video with a link (e.g. source: "kanalB.at")

link images directly: dont link images directly - it is not fair: so-called "deeplinking" causes traffic on kanalB.org although the site is not visited by the user. instead, download the image, upload it to your own webspace, and link the image on your webspace.
data protection and licences
  user data  
  we treat all data confidentially and, naturally, do NOT hand them over to third parties. the data you provide when ordering in the kanalB shop will be used only for handling order.

when you contact us via email, your data will be treated confidentially. use gnupg or pgp to encrypt your emails to kanalB. you can find the kanalB pgp key here.

one point regarding email addresses: please provide an email address through which we can reach you, since our preferred medium of communication is email (simply cheaper than writing letters). also, we do not publish email addresses on our website in order to protect you from spams.

a second thought download subscribers: make sure to provides us with an email address that will reach you also in 10 to 12 months time when the latest editions are ready for download.
  licences of kanalB videos  
  each videoclip on kanalB.org has a link ("LICENCE") pointing to the licence of the chosen video. most of the videos are publishes under a creative commons license - CCL - , details can be found here.

to put it shortly: copying video clips, distributing and showing is allowed - without our explicit permission (see also for web workers and bloggers, how to link videos and pics).

however, you are not allowed to sell the clips and in any case kanalB.org has to be acknowledged as source of the clips.

if you need raw material or additional footage, let us know! if we know the producers, we are happy to put you in touch with them.
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