Cathy Derrick (2003)
Input CBBC - CBBC User-generated content Project 2002/3
Input CBBC was a research pilot project which ran from October 2002 to February 2003, developed by
CBBC, in collaboration with Ultralab, a research centre of Anglia Polytechnic University.
It encouraged a group of children who’d never made a film before to produce their own output. It
attempted to give children control at every stage of the process - from idea through editing to screen. It
aimed to investigate the best ways to encourage such output, thinking ahead to a future where these
methods could potentially be used on projects with bigger scale. Further pilots could also test the
viability of children constructing whole magazines for themselves on broadband, with some content
produced by them, other content being professional items.
It was known from the start that Input CBBC would be a tall order - the aim was to test its ideas harshly
- to see if any child, with no special ability or ambition, could succeed at filmmaking with little
Forty children in Sheffield and twenty four in Hull, aged ten to fourteen, took part, working in groups
of around four. The pilot was conducted “at arm’s length”, through established institutions, such as
schools, community groups and City Learning Centres, with each group of children supervised by an
approved responsible adult. The adult’s role was to organise film-making sessions, keep children safe,
provide limited technological help if the children got stuck - but not to interfere in the creative process.
The children were introduced to digital cameras and to the editing package called iMovie by CBBC and
Ultralab, then encouraged to learn through play and experimentation. They were made aware of
important aspects about making a film, such as safety, copyright and editorial considerations. Amongst
other methods of support available, Ultralab developed a prototype website, which also acted as a base
for information and contact.