Friday, 11 August 2017

Elisabeth Urdal on The Audience's Experience of watching Slow TV

Looking to Hjørundfjord from Slogen in Sunnmørsalpene
The Slow TV Blog is very pleased to welcome a guest author, Elisabeth Urdal from Bergen who has just this summer completed a Masters Degree in Media Science, with qualitative research contributing to Reception Studies on Slow TV. This also forms a unique club of two people who have studied Slow TV at Masters Degree level!

The Audience’s Experience of watching Slow TV

The Norwegian broadcaster NRK's ​​Slow TV programs have had a big audience both in their home country and abroad. But what experiences do the audience get by watching boat - and train journeys, hymn singing and knitting minute by minute?

A recently delivered Masters thesis in Media Science addresses this question. Elisabeth Urdal from the University of Bergen interviewed twelve viewers in two different age groups – between 18-29 years and 49 years and older. Her research showed that it was particularly five experiences Slow TV gave the Norwegian viewers:

  1. Travel experience

One experience the viewers expressed was that Slow TV gave them a travel experience. Several of the programs have been boat and train journeys, such as this summer's “Sommertoget minutt for minutt”. These TV programs showed the entire journey from A to B, allowing the audience to see the view along the way. In this way, the audience got the feeling of being a free passenger who joined the journey from start to finish, over as long time as the journey took.

“They bring us to fjords and mountains that we may not have seen”

  1. Relaxing and hypnotic

Another experience is perhaps the most obvious one – it's relaxing to watch Slow TV. It is a predictable TV genre with a lack of highlights, and most of the time nothing happens. Some of the viewers claimed that Slow TV could be so relaxing that it almost seemed hypnotic.

When they watched the waves or train rails go by, they got into a rhythm where they were "taken into the picture". Several people first discovered this "hypnosis" when they were interrupted by someone who spoke to them or by a ringing phone.

“It's good to relax with Slow TV and disconnect everything and everyone”

  1. Thought- and imagination provoking

A third experience was that Slow TV can evoke thoughts and imagination. No producer has cut out the boring parts, so the viewer himself must find out what's worth watching and what's not. The slow format also makes it possible to notice details that the viewers otherwise may not have seen in a traditional format. Some of the audience compared it to "people watching". In this "activity” you usually sit in a café and study people passing by and maybe fantasize about their lives.

"When you look at things slowly, you have more time to stimulate and find up stories yourself"

  1. “Live feeling”

A fourth experience was the live feeling – a feeling that what's happening, happens now.

Except for some of the broadcasts, the Slow TV productions have all been broadcasted live. The audience not only get to see a small excerpt of the journey or activity, but get to see the whole part, and in real time as it unfolds.

The viewers could probably guess what would happen in the next minutes, but they never knew for sure. This gave an extra thrill to a somewhat unexciting format. Several of the informants therefore sat longer than they indented to in the first place, in case something exciting could happen.

“It was hardly possible to believe, I could not take the time to eat or go to the toilet”

  1. National feeling and community

The experience most of the audience mentioned were the strong national feeling Slow TV provided.

Elisabeth in her Bunad on Norway Day, 17th May
Firstly, Slow TV was sent by the Norwegian public broadcaster, NRK.

Secondly the programs contained typically Norwegian topics, like high mountains and deep fjords, and traditional activities such as knitting, hymn singing and salmon fishing.

Thirdly, and not least, all the Norwegian flags were a symbol of Norway. Several of the viewers said this evoked patriotic feelings in them. In addition, the viewers described a form of national community with the whole population of Norway. The nation either watched the programs at home, or participate with flags and homemade posters in front of the camera.

“We were together on a common project, and you got the strong feeling of being one nation. You felt very Norwegian”

Elisabeth's whole master thesis “Suddenly it happened…nothing - a study of the audience's experience with Slow TV” can be read and downloaded here.

Copyright Elisabeth Urdal, 2017.

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Thursday, 29 June 2017

TV - Propaganda machine?

What does TV do to us? A question which becomes very significant when you start studying Slow TV.

Slow Television - The Slow TV Blog

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Friday, 16 June 2017

Sommertoget - Summer Train Itinerary

A train at Bergen Station - NOT on the itinerary!
Starting on the 27th June, Sommertoget - Summer Train 2017 takes a TV roadshow of sorts around the interior of Norway over 8 weeks. Magazine style broadcasts and moments of Slow TV make up the content.

Below is the overview of the whole itinerary, which will be broken down into posts for each week and day here on The Slow TV Blog as each arrives.

Are you visiting the Summer Train? Or if you take pictures of the show as it happens and would like to share them with The Slow TV Blog, please get in touch.

Sommertoget / Summer Train Route

27th June - Rognan
28th June - Mo i Rana
29th June - Trofors
30th June - Grong
1st July - Steinkjer

Sommertoget / Summer Train rests Sunday and Monday

4th July - Hommelvik
5th July - Støren
6th July - Oppdal
7th July - Dombås
8th July - Åndalsnes

Sommertoget / Summer Train rests Sunday and Monday

11th July - Vinstra
12th July - Moelv
13th July - Rena
14th July - Alvdal
15th July - Røros

A little more about Summer Train 2017 here...

Sommertoget / Summer Train rests Sunday and Monday

18th July - Tynset
19th July - Elverum
20th July - Kongsvinger
21st July - Grorud
22nd July - Eidsvoll

Sommertoget / Summer Train rests Sunday and Monday

25th July - Gran
26th July - Flå
27th July - Finse
28th July - Flåm
29th July - Voss

Sommertoget / Summer Train rests Sunday and Monday

1st August - Ål
2nd August - Hønefoss
3rd August - Stokke
4th August - Porsgrunn
5th August - Notodden

Sommertoget / Summer Train rests Sunday and Monday

8th August - Nelaug
9th August - Marnardal
10th August - Brusand
11th August - Sira
12th August - Vennesla

Sommertoget / Summer Train rests Sunday and Monday

15th August - Bø
16th August - Vestfossen
17th August - Ås
18th August - Råde
19th August - Sarpsborg

Slow Television - The Slow TV Blog

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Slow TV and a State of Flow?

Thoughts from Professor Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.

Slow Television - The Slow TV Blog

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Slow TV - Getting lost in the moment?

Slow TV - good at generating 'present moments'.

Slow Television - The Slow TV Blog

Friday, 26 May 2017

Slow TV Summer 2017 - Sommertoget - Summer Train

A train arriving at Bergen Station. Not in Sommertoget!
Yes, they're at it again. We've just got over the epic journey of the reindeer migration Slow TV. And the snow hadn't even thawed from the gumpi-wagon which broadcast the pictures from Northern Norway and there's another Slow TV coming.

Starting in June, NRK are doing 8 weeks of a summer magazine-style broadcast, of which Slow TV will make up some of the transmission. The rest of it will comprise of music, local interest and personal stories in the places visited.

Sommertoget - Summer Train will journey over much of Norway's interior, stopping and featuring 40 stations over two months. It's been in pre-production since at least last August, a customised train with outside broadcast gallery, editing suite, dedicated to bringing this show from just about all over Norway to all over Norway and beyond.

The transport-based magazine show has been covered before, though this is a break from the coastal based summer show, Sommerbåt (summer boat) season, also called Sommeråpent (open for summer). In keeping with the idea of keeping things fresh and different, this gives Norway's interior a chance to shine and be celebrated. It's not only Norway's coastline that makes for beautiful TV.

Midsummer Train - Finnish Slow TV courtesy of YLE
TV2 covered Norway from the air by helicopter in Fly Med Oss in 2014. Summer Train ialso reminds of Finland's Juhannusjunna - a 13 hour midsummer train journey - but instead of just one night journeying the length of the country, it's 8 weeks, Tuesday to Saturday inclusive each week.


It starts June 27th in the north, so we may well have segments bathed in the golden hues of the midnight sun, and then the journey wriggles around the south of the country for a few weeks, concluding August 19th.

Probably the most experienced Slow TV presenter joins the show for a week. National Firewood Night, Knitting Night, Reindeer Migration and Sommerbåt 2013 host, Rebecca Nedregotten Strand. She will be one of a number of presenters rostered in over the eight week period.

The show happens in the sommerferie - the summer holidays - when just about everyone in Norway goes on holiday, so hopefully we'll get a lot of interaction from the public-Slow TV with lots of waving, cheering, singing and flag-waving folk.

Bergen Station - not on Sommertoget's itinerary!
I'll be blogging about it as and when I can, monitoring social media. If cheap flights can be found, I may even see about intercepting the journey at some point. It's been nearly three years since visiting Norway and I'm itching to get back!

Previous summer shows have been available to watch worldwide via the web.

The Sommertoget hub page on the NRK website can be found here.

New to The Slow TV Blog? See social media linksnotable internal links or to get in touch, the media centre page.

See also 10 Things to Do after the Reindeer Migration had finished.

Slow Television - The Slow TV Blog

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Slow TV Choir 'Cantus' - Album Review

Cantus' Northern Lights - New Album
Cantus. Not only are they the choir singing in the choral music to Disney's 'Frozen', more importantly for this blog, they are one of the many choirs who featured in NRK's Hymn Book Slow TV. And they have a new album out. And it's rather good.

In November 2014, there was a huge Slow TV production in Trondheim - 60 hours of singing the entire Norwegian Hymnbook, cover to cover, with a couple hundred choirs and a few thousand singers rostered in during those days.

I was blessed to be in Trondheim to cover the Salmeboka Minutt for Minutt Slow TV for my Masters Degree, which majored on Slow TV.

I followed a few of the choirs on social media during my time in Trondheim and in the time following. So, when Cantus' marketing kicked in, my ears pricked up and I thought, 'this is something I need to investigate'.

I bought the CD from a UK high street retailer (I like to help keep alive physical music shops you can walk in to, browse and purchase music) and have listened to it many times over in the time since its release

Here's a short review from my instagram account:

Here's a longer review from my YouTube account:

I was absolutely entranced by Cantus' performance of "Mitt hjerte alltid vanker" (audio used in the below video). It remains one of my favourite musical moments during Salmeboka Minutt for Minutt, so I am pleased there's a short reference to it in 'Northern Lights'.

The video is made of offcuts which didn't make it into the final edit of my main documentary. All music used with permission.

It's great to hear Cantus' 'Northern Lights' on Classic FM in the UK (chart announcement below). Let's hope they can dominate the chart.

Cantus performed for a few hymns, and all segments of Salmeboka Minutt for Minutt with Cantus can be seen HERE, the first performance just before 29 minutes in, at this link

Follow Cantus on their Facebook page

Slow Television - The Slow TV Blog

Slow TV gives opportunity to see Something New

Thoughts from Professor Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.

Slow Television - The Slow TV Blog

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Norway Day 360 Slow TV from Ålesund

Courtesy TV2 Nyhetene Facebook Page
Gratulerer med dagen!

Happy Norway Day! Today Norway has a national holiday celebrating its Constitution Day.

How fitting that one of the national channels, TV2, is doing a Slow TV style broadcast via the internet.

Facebook and Norwegian broadcaster TV2, have created a Live 360 video experience from the top of a mountain, overlooking the beautiful fjords of Ålesund in Norway.

For the first time ever, people around the world can be transported to Norway and experience in 360 the calming water and sun over this beautiful mountain enclosed fjord for the whole day. All live and fully immersive.

With the sun due to set at 22:33 CEST (13:33 California PDT, 16:33 New York EDT), people can tune in to bring a relaxing moment to their day, no matter where there are watching from.

To experience this unique viewpoint of a Norwegian fjord you can go to TV 2’s Facebook Page on mobile, desktop or VR headset.

If you are viewing without a 360 headset of Google Cardboard type devices for mobile, the image will display flat, as in the inset picture.

The camera will continue to broadcast until 23:00 local time (22:00 BST, 17:00 EDT, 14:00 PDT).

TV2 have previously produced a major Slow TV project, "Fly Med Oss" - Fly with Us in May and June 2014 - with helicopter journeys from every airport in Norway. 

Fly Med Oss was the first commercial Slow TV project and won the Beyond HD Achievement in Image Capture award at the TVBAwards in London in 2014, beating the BBC and two other nominees. A short taster on this YouTube clip below, more on YouTube.

If you want further livestreamed Slow TV style webcams outside of the TV2 transmission, the webcam from Fløyen, Bergen is a fantastic location for keeping an eye on people and the panorama there, or a dedicated birdwatching and northern lights channel from Norway at Zooom.

New to The Slow TV Blog? See social media links, notable internal links or to get in touch, the media centre page.

Slow Television - The Slow TV Blog