EngageMedia Blog

EngageMedia.org Upgraded

by Anna Helme August 21, 2012
EngageMedia.org has been upgraded with a new release of Plumi - the free software video-sharing web application that runs EngageMedia.org. Several bugs were squished, and improvements made to the way videos can be shared through social networks such as Facebook, and blogs like Wordpress.
Plumi logo

For this release EngageMedia and development partners Unweb focused on improving usability issues and eliminating bugs. Issues such as videos posted to Facebook being square rather than rectangular, and problems embedding videos into Wordpress and Drupal sites, have now been fixed.

Other big improvements include

  • fixes to commenting - now whenever someone posts a comment on your video you will get an email. 
  • A new set of social bookmarks are now available on every page for users to promote their work on a range of sites including Twitter, Digg and Delicious.
  • transcoding of videos have been improved to ensure the embedded video player appears and plays more reliably.

A number of other behind the scenes changes were made, if you want to get geeky you can find the full list of improvements on the Plumi blog.

The release of Plumi 3.1.1 will most likely be our last prior to upgrading to the much improved Plone 4. Plone is the open-source content management system (CMS) upon which Plumi is based.

Legal Aliens in New York

by Enrico Aditjondro August 15, 2012
Two EngageMedia men tried their luck in the Big Apple, attending conferences, talking and meeting with cool people, and spreading the spirit of video activism, EM Style.

I hope it’s not too late to talk about EM’s recent US trip. In late September, Andrew Lowenthal and I went to New York City to attend the Open Subtitles Summit and the Open Video Conference. It has become a regular event for EM as both Andrew and Andy Nicholson went to the same event last year.

Time Square

This year’s event was my first, though, and on a personal note, it was the first time back to the Big Apple since 1992. I stayed in the Spanish Harlem with my good friend Carlito Zesopol Caminha, a Timorese photo-journalist who has started doing flipcam journalism (Clinton Fernandes on International Tribunal for Timor Leste), while Andrew stayed in Brooklyn. A few has changed - buildings wise, era wise – but NYC is certainly still one of THE places to go in the world for talking and working videos. Some of the people we met included Sam Gregory of Witness, Nathan Freitas of the Guardian ProjectPat Aufderheide of the Center for Social Media at American University, and many more. (Nathan's chat with EM is published, the rest will follow).

Ahmadinejad was not welcomed in NY

Aside from the obvious conferences, Andrew and I went around town to meet with different kinds of people - Lauren O'Brian of Telegraph 21, OSI, Joanna Levitt of IARWitness buddies, and many more. One of the highlights indeed was the meeting with the Human Rights Watch at the Empire State Building (too bad ALo has a vertigo, so no video shots from the top of the once-tallest building in the world).


After NYC, I took a 5-hour bus-ride to Ithaca, courtesy of the FLEFF friends. It certainly wasn’t a regular bus-ride as it was 'pimped-up' with wifi, free drinks and free snacks. A gloomy cloudy Ithaca welcomed me, but the warm welcome by Patty Zimmermann and Stewart Auyash made my day. Oh yeah, I also used to live in Ithaca between 1987 to 1992, so it was a surreal return.


The days in Ithaca was full as together with Patty we went to do informal video activism chats at Cornell University’s Society for the Humanities, then off to Ithaca College’s Park Hall talk about EngageMedia’s works, chatting about climate change videos at Tom Shevory’s class, and eventually screening and discussing about video campaigns in Stewart Auyash’s International Public Health class. Along the ways, I met a lot of amazing people doing amazing works, like Jolene, Shaianne, Tim Murray, Renate Ferro, Jen Zambriski, and many others.

Eventually, I had to wrap it up and return to NYC, then fly back to Jakarta. If I have to rate the trip, it was definitely a success and a memorable one.

Hope you enjoy all the EM in NY videos!

Malaysia, Singapore, Rainbow Warrior, Haze and the Almighty Forest

by Enrico Aditjondro August 16, 2012
A merry-go-round with the recent events involving the Indonesian forests.

Well, it's ironic how the recent events were just connected. EnagageMedia's Indonesian Content Coordinator Yerry Borang had just gone up to Singapore and Malaysia for the successful Freedom FilmFest. Over there, Yerry also handed out EngageMedia's Time for Reel Action DVDs like peanuts. Time for Real Action, or T4RA, is EngageMedia's climate crisis video compilation, where forests play a huge role in the issues covered.

Right at the same time, the Indonesian Government was denying entry to Greenpeace's Rainbow Warrior, some blamed administrative reasons, some blamed the government didn't want too much pressure on the Indonesian forest issues which the JFCC nicely lined up a few speakers to talk about how to stop deforestation through the views of Bu Nur of the Forestry Ministry, and Pak Mubariq of the Wold Bank (even though he made sure to people that his views were his alone, not the almighty Bank) Eventually though, the events winded back to Singapore and Malaysia as forest fires in Riau hazed the two neighbors.

Yes, it all comes down to the Almighty Forest, and here's what seasoned forest campaigner Patrick Anderson of Forest Peoples has to say about the current forest situation, the upcoming Cancun meeting on climate change and how to basically manage it.

What happened at the 10.10.10 party

by Yerry Nikholas Borang August 20, 2012
I liked it, and hope we'll do it again next year.

 It was a sunny day for an activity, but all of us was pretty excited. For some this will ended days of meetings in jakarta extreme weather thunderstorm. I said to myself, “Yes, this will be a beautiful day”.

registration table 101010 10/10/10 Global Work Party: 1010 Action!



We welcome this event with joy, full of smiles, and the final moment with food. Although many technical issues that made us delayed it several hours, but at the 10.10.10 party was opened with a warm welcome from Nadia Hadad, Nana, and Arif.

10/10/10 Global Work Party: 1010 Action! 10/10/10 Global Work Party: 1010 Action!



According to my observations, a lot of media has covered this event mostly because many successful artists and model show-up.


10/10/10 Global Work Party: 1010 Action! 10/10/10 Global Work Party: 1010 Action!



Finally the much awaited event, the green fashion show environment. The event was quite successful despite the runway for models quite complicated. But at the end it ran smooth, and for an event which claim to be a party.

After we came home, one might think what we can do after this...i hope we still grasp the spirit save the earth and see you in a bigger party next year.

with love,

ps. this's a link to some of the photos and what happen there http://www.flickr.com/photos/engagemedia-org/sets/72157625029244049/



Hari yang cerah untuk sebuah aktivitas, dan pesta. Semua dari kami cukup bersemangat. Hari-hari yang panjang penuh rapat dan cuaca Jakarta yang ekstrim penuh hujan petir selalu mewarnai hari-hari sebelum ini.

 Kami menyambut pesta ini dengan gembira, penuh senyum, dan pada akhirnya penuh dengan makanan. Walaupun banyak hal teknis menjadi hambatan dan memperlambat, acara ini akhirnya dibuka dengan sambutan meriah dari Nadia Hadad, Nana, dan Arif.

 Dan menurut pengamatan saya, banyak media tertarik untuk meliput acara ini karena berhasil mengait seniman dan akrtis, bahkan model-model cukup terkenal.

 Dan akhirnya acara yang banyak ditunggu penonton, pameran busana lingkungan/green. Acara ini cukup sukses walau jalur berjalan para model cukup ruwet. Namun pada akhirnya semua sukses, dan untuk sebuah acara yang bertema sebuah pesta, acara ini cukup berhasil.

Setelah kita pulang semoga tetap menjalan semangat prolingkungan dan penyelamatan bumi, sampai jumpa di pesta yang lebih besar tahun depan.

with love


From the West to the East of Java and Bali, living in between two lives

by Nova Ruth August 24, 2012
Nova Ruth just finished two weeks of intense tour as both a performer and EngageMedia (Music and Democracy, Festival Mata Air, Hip Hop IS Harmony in Diversity tour 2010)

Most of people think that music has nothing to do with a 'job'. Because once you pick your hobby as a 'job', then you won't have anymore hobby. In some reason I know that it is correct. But my music somehow has a strong relation with my 'job'. Because both job and music care about the same thing. Environmental and social justice issue.

I just got back from my two weeks of traveling across Java and Bali. On 29th of October 2010 Green Radio and Asia Calling invited me to come and play a gig with a title "Music and Democracy". We had two friends from Burma that has been living in a run from the anti government protest on 2007, came to visit Indonesia and held a panel discussion. They are from a group called Generation Wave. No media can mention their name. So we make them a good Indonesian name. Dimas and Joko. For them, we were together celebrating and hoping for democracy in every nation. Hoping more for the freedom to speak up.

Before I end my set with singing 'Gendjer-Gendjer', a traditional song from Banyuwangi that has been banned by government cos it was well-known as a communist party's song, I said to people that I am working for organization that focused on environmental and social justice issues. Then I dedicated this song to my colleague that sat down at the corner who just got out from lock up for questioning a justice about his friends who was missing on 1998 protest. This song is for those who always stand up for justice. Everyone cheered up and gave me a big applause. Yerry started to give people warm smile and I said, "He has good videos for you to watch. It is important for you who care about environmental issue". Yes.. then we end up ran out our compilation Time For Reel Action DVD on that gig. It was a great feeling to get people's enthusiasm.

The next day i was moving east a little bit. 45 minutes from Semarang, there is a place called Kampung Seni Lerep in a small city called Ungaran. Festival Mata Air 4.5 was held there. We called it 4.5 because it was basically set up to do a nice preparation next year at Festival Mata Air 5. I was involved as a performer on Festival Mata Air 3 on 2008. For you, Festival Mata Air newbie, this festival was made to gain the awareness of the mineral water spring that started to be privatized by big mineral water companies. Last year was the blast one. Imagine you are touring in between twenty thousand people and more than one thousand performers within three days of festival. This year was smaller, but also had great performers and artists open space. I was there as EngageMedia, screening three videos from Time For Reel Action; When it Floods it Never Like This Before (Philippines), Green Gone Wrong (Indonesia) and Wake Up Freak Out (Australia). The screening held on Saturday, 2nd of October 2010, attended by all artists that involved in the festival and also the local citizens. More than one hundred people turned up because we were opening the performance that day. The biggest applause was for Green Gone Wrong!

laptop and big screen
Nova laptop afraid of rain
fma audience
after the rain, audiences still want to watch EngageMedia layar tancap
fma audience 02
These are some serious videos!

Bali is a Bali with all of the touristic elements. I found everyone busy with them self so I found out my self sat down in organic food place with fast internet waiting for feedback of few environmental and video groups there in between my involvement in Ubud Writers and Readers Festival, performing for two gigs with the title 'Hip Hop IS Harmony in Diversity'. But good to know that they were actually busy. So i guess there must be another day to meet up with those people and make something someday. BUT I met The Brothahood from Melbourne, all five moslems, talking about "what do you see when you look in to MY EYES". Their lyrics talk a lot about being a moslem in western world. I was culturally experiencing something quite new from my hanging out moment with them. Also Omar Musa from Australia, Mighty Joe and Pitch Black Gold from the USA, they are all speak up people that poetically describe their feeling through hip hop. Then you will end up see at least one of them put EngageMedia on their blog roll cos they love to see the truth and write up a lyric based on those video. Check this out and scroll down a little bit, look on your right side of your screen http://truecreativeactivity.com/2010/10/14/tkc-a-hiphop-cypherhiphop-is-harmony-in-diversity-concert/

Now, move your map a little bit from Bali, the well-known "Indonesia" for most world tourist, to the west. Here i am sitting in front of my laptop, sipping my local home made café con leche and still doing my two lives remotely from a small city called Malang, in the east part of Java.

More thoughts on the Open Subtitles Summit

by Andrew August 21, 2012

On September 29/30 I attended the Open Subtitles Design Summit in New York. I posted the basics of the event here if you'd like the the intro. In this post however I wanted to delve in a little more into the sessions, and what some of the outcomes might be, both for EngageMedia and more generally.

Firstly why is subtitling important to EngageMedia? The translation of content is integral to our role as a regional project that aims to connect similar issues across borders and languages. The diversity of language in the Asia-Pacific region is a wonderful asset, however it also limits the sharing of struggles and thus limits the development of greater collaborations and learning. Climate activists in Thailand could learn an enormous amount from video work of Indonesian activists, if only they could share their work more effectively without having to rely on English.

A lot of the discussions revolved around Universal Subtitles. If you haven't tried it, give it a go. You can already use it with videos from EngageMedia; grab the ogg version of the video below the flash player on any video page. You can't watch the subtitled video inside EngageMedia yet, we still need to write some code to do that.

Subs Summit

Back to the SubsSummit. The key sessions for me were really the two "managing subtitle communities" sessions, they seemed the most productive and certainly the most relevant for to our work at EngageMedia. There were a number of key ideas and outcomes from this.

  • Rather than building a community on our own we should be intersecting with organisations like Global Voices (who were at the meeting) to develop a shared community. Global Voices have been particularly successful at developing translation communities through their lingua project, they have 140 people in 15 teams. Universal Subtitles could again provide the infrastructure here to manage and develop these communities.
  • A lot was shared around strategies for developing and scaling translation communities, such as ensuring there is personal contact, mentoring, hooking into peoples personal motivations such as expressing a sense of purpose, getting exposure to other languages and cultures, contribution to something larger than yourself etc.

  • Other points included making sure you have multiple entry points for participants - eg. ensuring people can come and just do a 5 minute task, or take on a feature length movie.
  • Beyond the obvious human elements, well structured work flow and a clear way to get from A to C via B is critical. Subtitling workflows are fairly well established but the right kind of open system online need to be developed that allows communities to freely form, collaborate and scale.

There were a lot of other points I haven't teased out here, if you are interested further you can check the notes for session 1, session 2.

Overall the meeting was very effective, it certainly helped to have Aspiration facilitating to draw it all together. My feeling is that there will be real tangible outcomes from the event. EngageMedia is already discussing how to integrate Universal Subtitles into the site. Watch this space and we'll certainly keep you update, or if you are interested in helping out, contact us!

Details of all the sessions can be found at http://subsummit.universalsubtitles.org/index.php?title=Main_Page
Twitter tag: http://twitter.com/#search?q=%23subsummit
Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/tags/subsummit/


Introducing the Burnstation Prototype

by Grant McHerron August 21, 2012
EngageMedia and Unweb have released Burnstation, a module prototype that allows you to burn videos from Plumi straight onto DVD.

EngageMedia and Unweb have released a prototype of the Burnstation module for Plumi and Plone. This allows users to produce a DVD containing videos from any Plumi based website or digital media archive. These DVDs can then be distributed to people who may not have fast or reliable access to the Plumi server.

You can find an overview of the Burnstation project and its history on the Plumi Blog site along with a number of other posts related to the Burnstation project (the oldest post is at the bottom of the list). There are also development notes on the Plumi Wiki and an unpublished chapter in the Plumi Manual to help guide people through the module's installation and operation.

Please note that the prototype is a "proof of concept" system and does not have a quality user interface nor does it include all the features a full system should (e.g. managing the size of files that would appear on a DVD). As such, it is not recommended for production use and should only be used for evaluation purposes.

Survey analysis

by Andrew Garton — August 21, 2012
An extensive and detailed report from our strategic planning survey has been completed. It provides a breakdown of each survey question with their outcomes analysed through a thorough reading of the data, in text, graphs and compile of recommendations and anecdotal comments.

Here's a preliminary reading our survey... we'd love to hear from you.

Add your thoughts as a comment to this post, but first, grab a copy of the Report.

Improve usability

Response to the site and related questions throughout the survey point to a need to improve the sites usability. This can stem from both its public interface and back-end, its CMS components. Getting content online can be said to be as user unfriendly as some aspects of the public interface. Some responses suggest that features that do exist aren't clearly visible, or not entirely intuitive.


  • Promote use of existing features
  • Review current interface and seek to improve short-term usability whilst building responses into design specification / interaction design for next build / upgrade of EM.org.

Increase profile

In spite of the organisations significant support and the good will it generates, there is a general trend towards encouraging it to raise its profile. There is little media coverage of its activities either during or after events. Promotion and marketing has remained low, focusing in recent times on posters, postcards and stickers that are posted to groups and / or made available freely at its events.


  • Marketing / promotion as standard deliverables in each project plan.
  • Frequent in-house blogging of projects prior to, during and post-events.
  • Develop a marketing / outreach plan in concert with Strategic Plan.

Increase opportunities for networking

Clearly one of the features of EM's work has been the networking amongst peers as a consequence of camps, workshops and sprints. People want more, but in doing so, new connections made need to be sustained and not only nurtured.

Increase opportunities for skills building

More training and development in both distribution and production with Camp Sambel style workshops mirrored in other countries in the Asia Pacific (e.g. New Zealand, Singapore) and beyond (e.g. South Africa). (Refer p. 39 Survey report)


  • Immediate - prepare / collate reviewed list of online production support guides to be available from EM.org.
  • Immediate - prepare / collate reviewed distro strategies, most likely from various EM workshops.
  • Review pros and cons of curriculum development.
  • Pros and cons of strengthening Skills Building Program.

Develop partnerships and strategies with grassroots groups and large NGOs

A significant outcome of this kind of ongoing endeavour is to ensure, or rather embed EM.org as the platform of choice for social justice and environment video in Asia Pacific. (Refer p. 28, 34, 36 Survey report)

This also links to off-line approaches, including more than likely, increased opportunities for Local Archives and Burnstation (neither of which were specifically referred to in the survey questionnaire).


  • Ensure all partner and peers are on newsletter.
  • Follow-up partners and peers, keep them in the loop of other activities and information.
  • Seek partners and peers input into site content, profile in newsletter when such content available on EM.org.
  • Encourage more use of EM.org content, links to site and / or feeds.
  • Investigate pros and cons of replicating partner efforts and resources in New Zealand and South Africa where groups we can work with are active.