After 30 years of roaming the country, reporting Scotland for a wide range of radio and television programmes, David Calder has retired from day-to-day broadcasting.

However, he has not hung up his microphone. He has created a local podcast for Portobello - the Porty Podcast - and is working on another - Spirit of Scotland - about Whisky, Gin and Craft Beer!

He's also invested in new technology to help firms use video as a marketing tool. The technology means that clients can provide the stills or video and David turns it into professional content!

Working with his wife, Penny, he provides workshops on media and communication skills, face-to-face in small groups or in webinars.

Interesting Discovery

Posted by on 28 January 2009

This isn’t something I’d have thought of doing before — but I’ve just linked my camera up to the laptop by firewire and recorded material direct on to the computer. This could prove a major time saving device for our various clients.

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Hey Ho

Posted by on 28 January 2009

Things have been very busy of late. The SFHA’s has kept us very active. There was one day where they had lined up interview after interview at a conference so that we had loads of material “in the bag” for use later. This included an interview with the Scottish Housing Minister, Stewart Maxwell, and a host of others on their main topic = lead developer and investment reform.

Then they sent us off down to Ayrshire to make a feature in anticipation of their launching a major campaign on housing. This is The Year of the Home Coming in Scotland (more at and also the 250th anniversary of Robert Burns, our national poet. You can see the results of both the feature and the news conference to launch the campaign at the housing scotland website (above).

I’m also finding that the amount of media and communication skills training I’m being asked to do has suddenly increased. Looks like being about six half-days between now and the end of February.

So…hey ho and off we go!

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Posted by on 12 January 2009

Tonight, I had a very good session with a friend called Ian Burgess. Now Ian’s a self-confessed geek who REALLY understands the online world. He advised me that had to “take control of the channels” when promoting our video production. So we need to get the SFHA’s videos up on to OUR website ( as well as theirs and also marketing our services direct to their commercial clients.

His view is that by convincing the commercial clients that we can provide them with a service (probably in the form of case studies) then the money will follow and we can then offer the video to for free. The point is that they would have a useful tool for their own websites. We could offer to write up the information into written case studies as well and (as Ian put it) make sure the video was “aggregated” on to the various online video sites such as YouTube and Google Video etc.

As I say, Interesting and a lot of food for thought.

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Posted by on 8 January 2009

Today’s been an interesting day — and not because I’ve been doing very much for BITWeb.

There’s a really excellent networking service in Edinburgh called Altanta. It’s run by one of the most enthusiastic South African ladies called Nicky du Preez and her daughter Surit Freed. But she’s a serial networker — she just can’t help it. She’s also the most optimistic person I know — even in these troubled times, she sees only opportunities and no threats!!!

So she brought a group of people together to hear a short seminar on sales from the local guru,
Mike Kean of Ask Training. Very taught and concise and very informative — and then on to the Scotch Malt Whisky Society for lunch.

Ended up sitting beside a guy from Towry Law who may just be willing to pick up with some TV and run with it…but that’s for the future. Delightful guy who’s worth knowing anyway.

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Strategic Thinking

Posted by on 7 January 2009

Having spent a positive couple of hours trying to get BITWeb’s strategy better planned, we at least have an idea of where we might be going. The Chamber of Commerce TV News Service looks as though it will get a new lease of life with LloydsTSB willing to put some money into the pot.

More important, the SFHA seem willing to re-think how they use to incoporate it more into their other online publications. I now have to write a strategy paper for them which we can discuss on Friday.

We’ve also agree that our own website should be upgraded with loads of material that I will probably have to write.

Hey ho

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Some observations

Posted by on 6 January 2009

One of the side effects of being under the weather is that you can take a look at what the competition are doing…and some of it stinks!!!

Defamation laws mean this had better involve “no names, no pack drill”…but I’ve noticed one video company that claims to have made productions for a range of what should be excellent clients. The trouble is: when you look at those clients’ websites, there’s no sign of said videos. Why?

To take one example…it involves a large firm of accountants and business advisers in the UK. There appears to be no coherent storyline. Instead, the Chief Executive appears, outside an office which doesn’t seem to have any obvious link with the business, in shirt sleeves and without a tie. Now, the people who own have run media and communication skills courses for many years and would never have allowed such a senior executive to appear in such a sloppy fashion. Chief Executives have to LOOK like Chief Executives at all times — the company’s reputation and their reputation depend on it.

To make matters worse, he was READING from cue cards somewhere to the right of the camera which meant that (a) he looked uncomfortable and (b) he sounded stilted. Not only that, he went on and on and on…for FAR TOO LONG. Anyone watching would have clicked on to something more interesting after the first couple of minutes. His message was completely lost.

Finally, for some reason I still don’t understand, there was irrelevent “production music” running under the whole piece. (Production Music’s usually pretty dire but can sometimes add a little ambience to a piece; it’s written without a specific project in mind but is designed to suit particular generic themes such as “news”, “travel”, “drama”, “children”…etc). In this case, it was very distracting and again would have meant the company’s message was lost.

In another video, some of the statements to camera (they’d have been better as interviews) went from colour to black and white and back again for no reason. Not only that, the camera angles were truly bizarre! Again, the feature was spoiled by the irrelevant use of production music.

Come to BITweb for your online news channels, for your corporate video and any other online television in Scotland. We know how to tell a story and we know how to make sure you look the part.

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What a bug can do for your business health

Posted by on 6 January 2009

Being confined to bed isn’t something I like doing — does anyone? But sometimes, it’s nature’s way of getting you to slow down and start thinking about what you’re doing. So I’ve been reflecting on where is actually going and how we can make online video work better for us and our clients.

So I’ve posed about 30 questions for us to mull over. They fall into various categories — what we want to do staregically, practical issues, loads on marketing and quite a few on how we make better use of the website.

I reckon that, once we’ve got the “what we want the company ACTUALLY to be” out of the way, the marketing issues are going to be the most important in driving things forward. We have to use the Internet tools to drive traffic to the various sites and that’s going to be the challenge over the next few weeks.

We have our strategy meeting tomorrow — so let’s get going.

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Having fun

Posted by on 2 January 2009

This being a quiet time of year, I’ve been playing with my camera, trying out what Sony calls its “remote commander” — which simply means a device clamped to the handle of the tripod which controls the zoom and focus. I’ve also been experimenting with some of the setting in the camera itself, in particular the Shot Transition feature. This allows you to set the start and end point for a move — hit the “execute” button and the camera takes over and achieves the result very smoothly — great for pull-focus shots which on the A1E are quite hard to manage by hand.

It should all make better come the new season which starts in a few days time.


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New Year’s Day

Posted by on 1 January 2009

A time for reflection about where is going.

I think that the company needs to be a little more hard headed about future contracts as we move into 2009. There’s probably going to be little money around this year so we have to provide a quality service at a reasonable price.

We’re having a strategy meeting next week and tough decisions will have to be made, especially in connection with the Chamber. The SFHA is a good deal — but we need more like it.

So we have to identify good targets and go after them aggressively.

Should we also be looking at creating magazines? I love the idea of one devoted to food from Scotland but do I really want to turn a hobby into a job?

Hey ho — It’s a lovely night and I really shouldn’t be working ;->


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