I attended the first part of today’s “Canopy” event at the WildRivers 101 Film Festival held in Access Humboldt’s site at Eureka High School. It got off to a slow start and was sorely under attended. It’s too bad, because a great discussion took place for those who were there. Topics ranged from collaborations between video and film professionals, to training resources for youth, to the grey areas surrounding intellectual property and fair use.

Before the session began I got a tour of what will become Access Humboldt’s impressive video facilities. The layout includes a sound proof production room with lighting grid something not available anywhere else in the area as far as I know. Editing workstations and  complete editing “rooms” give this facility the potential for a huge amount of creative activity. An unusual addition is a room they call Studio B that provides all the equipment for presenting a live talk show with room for guests. You can even switch to a live feed from the larger production room if you want.

Beyond that Access Humboldt allows you to air you products on the cable access channels and will soon include the ability to distribute them on the Internet simply by checking a box when you submit your video to them for airing.

In addition to this opportunity, Paul Benson, a local entrepreneur is offering an outlet for local producers to to present their productions online in a commercial environment and share in the revenue. Humvidx.com promises not only revenue share but a better presentation environment than YouTube.

FILMHumboldt (link doesn’t work, at publishing time, but maybe will later) seeks to promote the area as a digital hub encouraging out of the area productions and locals alike to use the region as a backdrop and to pool the resources of producers, directors, actors, editors and technicians in developing digital media products for current and emerging markets.

It’s impressive how much energy, time and money is going in to providing resources for people to create and share digital media. The question I have is whether there is really a pool of talent and expertise that can take advantage of these opportunities. As Sean McLaughlin director of Access Humboldt said “We have the tools, but we don’t have the people”. A good deal of training is going to have to happen in order for people to take full advantage of what’s being offered. Is there a enough drive and creative talent out there to start producing quality material for all these venues? It’s not as easy as blogging, folks. With today’s meager turnout it’s hard to imagine where this talent will come from. Perhaps tomorrow’s session at the Humboldt Bay Aquatic Center which focuses on film/video and social change will have a larger audience. Check the WildRivers 101 Film Festival site for more information.