The Transgender Zone Media Archives
I have lost count of the times I have been asked about the Transgender Zone Media Archives and especially what is involved in collating it.
Just how do we compile all the trans data every month, log it and archive the clips? Here is a little taster of what we do.
What is on and how do we find it?
There are a number of programmes and channels that tend to take the lion’s share based on their past behaviour. If a new comedy drama begins we can pretty much guarantee that there will be transphobia, simply because writers unfamiliar with trans issues have very few other ‘safe’ targets to abuse today without being prosecuted, or even putting their lives in danger. Mocking some faiths as I am sure you are aware can be a very dangerous game to play.
Trans at this time are abused for laughs, so the comedy panel shows are always recorded automatically, as are new comedy dramas on the ‘yoof’ channels (ITV2, BBC THREE and E4). We also have a ‘hit list’ that we look out for in repeats. Many abusive shows are sold elsewhere, we only have to fast-foward through these programmes to spot the same abuse that we already have archived in the past to note it is still there. Abuse shown on BBC TWO on Snog, Marry, Avoid is now being repeated on Channel ‘Really’. Same abuse different location.
Of course we have keywords stored in the Media Center systems, these include all the high profile transpeople, and transgender keywords that include: Eddie Izzard, Grayson Perry, transsexual, sex-change, Ladyboys, Ladyboy, Tranvestitie… and so on. We have a huge list that will automatically record programmes that feature these terms in their descriptions or cast lists.
We of course scan sites like Trans Media Watch, and get many tip-offs from our networks and friends that things will be being broadcast, or that they themselves maybe appearing in something soon. Remember if you are going to appear in a programme let us know. Contact details on the bottom of our homepage.
How do we record it?
We have Windows 7 Media Center PCs that run around the clock – never turned off. They have Hauppauge Tuners (http://www.hauppauge.co.uk/site/products/data_hvr2200mc.html).
The main system is a Dell XPS fitted with 2 dual Hauppauge 2200 cards and an additional Satellite card making the equivalent of 5 televisions running – this may seem extravagant overkill but you’d be amazed at the amount of programmes that do clash, or Freeview bad weather can pixelate a broadcast so we can switch to the satellite version, especially during prime-time. All live recordings and viewings are managed externally via e-Sata Links to a 1TB Samsung High performance drive. This keeps the data off the PC in case of crashes or recovery. This also helps as a PC’s drive can fill up very quickly and e-Sata means we can increase the size on-the-fly.
We also have the ability to capture any video content in any format anywhere online should it be necessary. Youtube and on demand services such as Iplayer has helped considerably here. But sometimes content is not available on-demand so if we miss it it could be lost forever – news stories for example. Not all content is held longer than 30 days.
We began in the early days with VHS, 2 years ago we digitized the entire collection using a Canopus ADVC110. It has firewire which prevents audio syncing problems. The captured HUGE AVI files were then remastered on another dedicated PC which was allowed to run around the clock capturing and processing constantly without interruption, running Sony Vegas with digital video (and audio) Noise reduction plugins. Each frame had to be treated individually the whole process took over 2 months non-stop to complete.
They were then converted into windows Media Video DVD quality file formats and saved to more easily searchable hard drives and backed up on DVDS – Twice.
How do we store it and what do we have?
IMPORTANT! We do not store any of the data on publicly accessible servers, it is stored in private collections for research and critical reveiw purposes only (in the same way you would record a film at Christmas and save it to watch later or buy a DVD film and have it in your bookshelf), we do not share or upload the programmes or clips for legal reasons of usage rights. We do publish the logs so you can at least see what is going on every month here Monthly Logs.
We store the data on VHS Video Tapes, DVDs, and now in digital form using external hard Disk Drives. All Hard Drives are mirrored, so we copy to both at the same time, and then once a month burn all the same data to DVD as data files. As the saying goes, “If data does not exist in 3 places it does not exist at all.”
You can take a look at some of our older archives here maybe you are on them?
But for more recent clips then take a look here, and yes(!) we have a copy of everything shown stored.
We have almost anything trans related on record, be that abuse or positives spoken in the last 20 years on British Television including films. Longer for Older DVDs. Some of our content dates back to the 70s and earlier. Julia Grant in ‘A Change of Sex‘ for example was in 1980, however, we also have her follow-up documentaries in the 90s. Clips of abuse from 70s shows like ‘On the Buses…’ and ‘George and Mildred’ to programmes that came and went like Paddington Green – with transsexual sex worker Jackie McAuliffe. From Nadia in the Big Brother House and Hayley in Coronation Street in those early days to Eurovision’s Dana International and episodes of Kilroy that often invited transpeople on to speak in the 90s.
It does seem like it is a lot of work, it is! But somebody has got to do it.
Who watches it and does all this work?
Yours truly Ice Maiden. I try to do the clips at the weekends, totally voluntarily. Its almost like detective work and is a good a hobby as anything else really. It does allow me to retain an almost photographic memory of television abuse and is often called into action when writing about the media. I watch programmes at double speed, with time-stretch/compression on the audio so they do not squeak they just speak faster. With fast-forward through ad breaks I can watch a 30min program in less than 12 mins :). Nightmare to watch television with huh?!
Transgender people have been the subject of ridicule for decades, but without proof it is just hearsay. The other problem is it has now been so embedded into the broadcasters psyche they do not realise what they are doing – it is now institutional transphobia across the board with the exception of Channel 5 – which is why they win our awards all the time but that could change! So don’t think it may not happen the mighty have fallen before – jut ask Channel 4!. Broadcasters often do not realise the sheer numbers of negative and humorous comments made every week about transfolk. Our logs can demonstrate this, and when seen compressed in this way it truly is shocking. We at tzone think it may help change the way the media behaves. It has been of help to our friends at ‘Trans Media Watch‘ in the past and no doubt will be doing so in the future. It also reminds us that Transgender People were on the box campaigning and fighting for us long before the internet, Twitter and Facebook stepped in. So we can sometimes take a sobering look back and decide if things were better or worse than today with an objective eye rather than an all to easily biased one – or see if history is repeating itself?
Take a look here and decide for yourself. http://forum.transgenderzone.com/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=3352
Well must be going I have a Hard Drive full of stuff to edit and it ain’t getting any smaller ;).
A minute’s silence for my poor Sharp Remote that gets through Batteries like there is no tomorrow!
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