How the process worksclose
Currently, only BBC teams and partners can access BBC Notes. For those outside the BBC, we're interested in partnerships on projects with experimental or public service value - contact us to register your interest in becoming a partner. Please allow two working days to hear back from any request.
How does it work?
- 1Choose what moments from your production you want to amplify and ask how they might be enhanced using a second layer of material
- 2Then, ahead of your event, create and gather the text, images, and links you want to share with your audience
- 3Control the timing of the notes, whether that’s delivering pre-prepared material, or create some content on-the-fly
What is BBC Notes?
Cinemas and theatres go to great lengths to stop you looking at your phones during performances but a personal, second-screen makes for some rather interesting possibilities around how audiences might experience an event, performance or broadcast. A well-timed piece of content can add a layer of depth and understanding, perhaps some historical context, back story, or an artefact being referenced in the main event.
Words, pictures, audio, and URLs can all be delivered to augment your event. As a BBC Notes producer you will have the ability to push content out, letting you capture the improvisation and reactions that define a live performance.
Also, the value of giving subtitles or languages options can, for some audiences, make the difference between night and day. Yet there’s another aspect to accessibility around connecting audiences, like children, with content that may otherwise be too complicated, unfamiliar or otherwise alien.
Top tips to get you ready
Prepare for all the moments that will reinforce your narrative, its context, its intended emotional tone; anything that will help with the audience become more immersed in the content. Identify what those moments are likely to be and make content ahead of time that will most effectively amplify the key moments of your event.
Your audience now has another window through which they can experience your event, but what will they see? Are you adding context or depth? Does it support the main action or cast the action in a new light?
Links can be used with BBC Notes to make your experience interactive. You could cast your audience in a more engaged, more central role in your event.
It could be a gesture, a clap, or a vote, or perhaps it’s deciding the fate of a villain or exploring an on-stage clue more closely in AR.
Feedback from the audience, in whatever form, can be collected and potentially used as part of the performance. It’s just a question of what feedback you want to collect from your audience and what control you would hand over to the audience. The feedback might be subtle, or it could be central to the event.
However, remember to think about the cost of affecting your audiences immersion and remember that there are moments best left to contemplation!
The voiceover option allows you to play an audio file along with each note. By default, text-to-speech is used to generate audio of what is written in each note.
However, you can replace it with custom audio files; for example, you could have a voice actor speak the notes, further adding to the immersion and experience of the piece - but it can also be any audio.
If you've ever worked in social media, the role of a BBC Notes producer will feel very familiar to you!
The craft is in adding colour, context and intrigue to a moment in the most timely and relevant manner, it's all about timing and how creatively you can respond to the main event.
What have we learnt from BBC Notes so far?
Some of the arts, particularly dance, theatre, and opera, can seem inaccessible and alien to some. We therefore started our research with BBC Notes at The Proms in an attempt to break down barriers for people who may not be familiar with orchestral concerts, and attract younger audience members. The issue of opening up arts and culture is a clear public service that we continue to work towards.
We’re very interested to see how BBC Notes will be used in new and novel settings, beyond the (tried-and-tested) classical music events.
Likewise, we're especially excited to see how others might integrate interactive content into their performance and all the ways audiences actions could be reflected in a live performance.