Press Office


The Great North Film


Spectators at the Great North Run are being asked to get involved this year by helping to capture the event on their mobile phones as part of a major experiment being led by Newcastle University.

In a bid to turn us all into film-makers, the University’s Digital Interaction team are exploring the potential of crowdsourcing to create a unique film that captures the run from the crowd’s perspective.
“We’re hoping that by putting the crowd in charge of the filming we’ll capture some really special moments that are missed by television,” explains Dr Tom Bartindale, who is leading the project with Dr Guy Schofield.
“It’s an opportunity for people to capture their friends and loved ones during the run but also some of the other things that are going on - the anticipation at the start, the street entertainment along the way, the buzz in the crowd.
“What we want is a personal record of the event made by the people who are actually there watching it, capturing the bits that are important to them.”
To take part, spectators need to download a unique new app that has been created by the team.
Called ‘Bootlegger’, the app directs the user, asking them where they are along the course, what shots they are taking and advising on certain angles and images.  For example, the app might ask for a close up of people’s feet pounding the street or a wide shot of the crowd cheering, building up the variety of shots and angles required to produce a professional-looking film.
The project is funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) through their Social Inclusion in the Digital Economy (SIDE) project.
“It’s important for us that people don’t spend their whole time filming,” explains Guy.  “The aim is for this to add to people’s experience of the event not detract from it so everyone will just be contributing small pieces of footage which together will come together to create the picture.
“Nothing like this has ever been done before so we don’t really know how it will turn out but every snippet that is filmed will be personal to someone, somewhere, building a narrative of the event that wouldn’t be possible without the crowd.”
The final footage will be edited by the team and screened at Newcastle University as part of the outdoor projections series during the autumn.
To find out more about the app and how to get involved join the Facebook group “Bootlegger@GreatNorthRun”.  The team is also running drop-in sessions 10am – 12:30pm from Wednesday 3rd – Sat 6th September.

published on: 4 September 2014