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An Imaginative Use For CCTVs 191

An anonymous reader writes "Everyone knows we're being watched by CCTVs everywhere — particularly in the UK — and virtually everyone (at least on Slashdot) complains about that fact. But have you ever stopped to consider the ways you can use all those CCTVs to your advantage? The Get Out Clause, an unsigned band from Manchester in the UK, did just that; they played in front of 80 different CCTVs around Manchester, and then asked for the video via Freedom of Information Act letters. (About 25% of the CCTV owners complied with the law and turned them over.) The result isn't too bad."
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An Imaginative Use For CCTVs

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  • Wait, CCTV owners? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by pembo13 ( 770295 ) on Monday June 02, 2008 @03:23AM (#23624019) Homepage
    I kind of just assumed that the government/law enforcement were the "owners". Who is the summary referring to as "the CCTV owners" ?
  • Mark Thomas (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Allicorn ( 175921 ) on Monday June 02, 2008 @03:27AM (#23624049) Homepage
    British comic and political activist Mark Thomas ( http://www.markthomasinfo.com/ [markthomasinfo.com] ) has been doing this kind of thing for years.

    In 2000 (I think) he orchestrated a national "talent show" kind of competition where all entries had to be submitted as CCTV footage recovered from CCTV operators through measures under the Data Protection Act. Hilarious stuff :-)

  • Re:Is it just me... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ChowRiit ( 939581 ) on Monday June 02, 2008 @03:40AM (#23624123)
    This is true, I went and actual READ a bit of the Act, and it does indeed only cover government and similar organisations.

    It would be interesting to know, though, if any of the refusals came from any such organisations...
  • Re:Only 25%? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Fusen ( 841730 ) on Monday June 02, 2008 @03:51AM (#23624173)
    As already posted above, the FOIA only applies to government organisations. Majority of the CCTV cameras that people talk about are owned by small shops and private businesses. Which is why I get so bored of the scaremongering that goes on on slashdot. It can take police weeks to get access to the tapes from these CCTV cameras, it's nothing like 1984...
  • Re:Really good (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Kopiok ( 898028 ) on Monday June 02, 2008 @04:42AM (#23624433)
    If you read the guitarists response, he says that they did NOT use professional shots, and that most of the footage was indeed from CCTV cameras. He says they used (and quite obviously, I might add) handheld camera shots in between some CCTV shots in order to make the video look better overall.

    This just looks like the spreading of a rumor that it was professional footage as fact.
  • by stupid_is ( 716292 ) on Monday June 02, 2008 @04:45AM (#23624447) Homepage
    He was encouraging the public to make films by staging scenes in front of CCTVs and then do a DPA request to get the footage. Stitch it all together and you have a (silent) feature film.
  • Re:Really good (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jrumney ( 197329 ) on Monday June 02, 2008 @04:52AM (#23624483)
    It's funny how when police release CCTV footage of suspected criminals, it is always blurry black and white images at 2 fps, but these guys managed to get focused full PAL resolution images at 25 fps, sometimes in color.
  • by SpooForBrains ( 771537 ) on Monday June 02, 2008 @05:30AM (#23624653)
    With their (imaginatively titled) track CCTV: You're starring in a film every weekend On video and stills With all your friends You're there in Black and White Hundreds watch you every night You're great in every scene You're very natural It's as if you cannot see the spotlight on you But when you fluff a line the director says You're doing time When you're walking home In the evening after dark Remember don't hide And show your best side Cos you're the star in a film They also did a fantastic track about Tony Blair, before he became PM: He thought he was as drunk as can be New white skinny rebel was he Because he knew what mattered It's all in a clatter of the bands he's seen His words of wisdom would shock Whether he meant them or not He'd save the world All the boys and the girls But another single's all he'd be That's sad That's right Another night Of someone else's fantasy He thought he was cool with his tunes He practised the knack in his room And in the evening he'd DJ With the slider at eight plus Believing that at his feet we swoom Now he's always there in the queue While down on the dance floor it's you And when he starts playing He's up there playing You don't notice that they're not his tunes He thought he could measure the world Because he loved the flag when unfurled First he's a lawyer, excellent debator You should have heard the mud he hurled Now you've seen his face on TV Leading parliamentary When he makes decisions That meet your derision He reminds us all that we're free Although irritatingly I can't find any reference to the intended meaning of this song, and now I can't remember why I think it's about Tony Blair.
  • Coming up next... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by dugenou ( 850340 ) on Monday June 02, 2008 @08:26AM (#23625521)
    ...Humani TV. Remember this mockumentary Citizen Cam [chaosradio.ccc.de] ?

    During the video, an amateur theater company did also get imaginative about the use for CCTVs.

    Related story: London 2006, Meet London 1984 [slashdot.org].

  • Re:Music Video (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Megane ( 129182 ) on Monday June 02, 2008 @08:31AM (#23625557) Homepage
    This one seems to be the one posted by the band themselves: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W2iuZMEEs_A [youtube.com]
  • by Tony Hoyle ( 11698 ) <tmh@nodomain.org> on Monday June 02, 2008 @09:15AM (#23625925) Homepage
    I've been in the Manchester CCTV center (which is a joint operation of the council and NCP who paid for it). Those cameras are pin sharp and lose none of their sharpness when zooming in... they can read a number plate 100 yards down the street - let alone across it - at night. Hell, these things can zoom into watches...

    I've always half suspected the blurry black and white images were postprocessed to look like that, just to make people feel better about CCTV - I've met a lot of people who think they still use black and white cameras. Shops maybe do, but not the city council.

In seeking the unattainable, simplicity only gets in the way. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982