Motorbike Cinema “Cineboda” Tests, Northern Bahr al Ghazal, South Sudan, Part IV, Technical Lessons and Recommendations

An evaluation of the peacebuilding impact of the exercise was outside the scope of this activity. This test was simply intended to subject the Cine-boda concept to a real-world situation. Some findings and lessons are outlined below:

a. Screen
The screen was satisfactory and could easily entertain 200+ persons. Good tension was achieved in the first two showings using the bungee attachments provided. This provided a good cinematic experience. The screen was poorly set up in the third showing, which used the Velcro attachments provided. This was primarily because the team had not been trained in using the Velcro. Lessons include:

• Provide larger screen.
• Screen risks becoming creased. Consider spandex based screen for version 2.
• The Velcro attachment system can produce the necessary tension but will rip paint off surfaces on removal, limiting its application.
• Training for team in various methods of erecting screen is important.
• Develop a fold out frame from Cineboda for rear projection to avoid the need for a surface to attach screen.
• Need pegs and more holes in bottom of screen.

b. Power
The battery unit successfully charged from the motorbike alternator, the solar panels and the A.C power.

• Solar charging: Solar system successful and drew about 11watts of charging power continuously. 6 hours of sunshine fully charged system after 2 hours of screenings.
• Motorbike charging: 12v charging system from motorbike provided up to 40watts of charging power to battery system when driving and about 9 on tickover.
• Charge still showed 90% after two hour screening.
• Screenings do not need engine running.
• Battery capacity is generous and could be reduced.
• Battery is large and heavy and could be reduced in size and weight.
• Next generation Cineboda should run both speaker and projector from single battery source.

c) Audiences of 100-250 people
Audiences were small because the activities took place within compounds and were not advertised outside of the immediate community. However, lessons include:

• System reaches audiences who do not have access to power.
• System can easily reach audiences of 250
• System can get to hard to reach communities off-road.
• Sound volume sufficient for outdoors and amidst background noise

d) Microphone to facilitate showings and discussion

• Microphone worked well.
• Bluetooth microphone would be an improvement because it would lower barriers to audience engagement in discussion (they would not need to stand and come to the front to speak)

e) Functional in Remote Areas

• Cineboda moved well on poor roads and off-road.
• Team assessment was that Cineboda could reach all field locations in NBG.
• Cineboda functioned well without access to power
• Training and practice needed by operator to ensure maintenance of charge in the field over time.
• Speaker should charge from same battery system as projector. This would make maintaining the system more straightforward for operator.

f) Easy and inexpensive to transport

• The Cineboda was easy to transport. One tank of petrol (10litres) covered all the activities.
• Only one person required for whole operation.
• Future version should integrate spare fuel can.

g) No prior experience required for use of installation

• Simple to install using local tools and skills
• After the first showing, two VISTAS team members took control of all aspects of the screenings.
• The universal mounting rack will fit most bikes in South Sudan and any market will have the tools and skills for installation.
• Further experience required on maintaining charge and screen.
• Custom model would simplify operation and maintenance significantly.

h) Rugged and suitable in harsh environments

• Waterproof components (tank bag needs supplied cover when raining hard)
• Future version should exclude tank bag and just have one top box at rear.
• Top box attachment to mount held firm. However, concern remains about strength of this latch. A more robust system should be developed.
• Top box is secure and both box and latch have lock.
• Tank bank is not secure and could be removed relatively easily.
• Screen should fit in main top box rather than require additional bag.
• Foam appears satisfactory protection, but need a custom build box with laser cut foam.

i) Branded components

• Top box branded with USAID and Cineboda decals.
• Decals need to be more prominent.
• Decals for motorbike required.

j) Manual in English and Arabic

• Manual to be evolve with models

i) Data

• An improved microSD card is required with a higher data rate. At present, the USB stick reader must be used with the microSD card for uncompressed video or sound issues present.
• .M4V format does not work with current projector

ii) Use of SmartPhone and Network

• The Cineboda was supplied with a smartphone. The network was sufficient in some areas that videos could be sent to the operator on an ongoing basis, to provide up to date content (e.g. news videos, updates from peace processes).

iii) Films

• Audience appetite is high so need a library of films.
• Films in South Sudanese Arabic and local languages were popular.
• Local content excited audience.
• Greatest impact where no power exist

6. Recommendations for Use
The following list is simply a set of thoughts as to how the Cineboda could be used in Northern Bahr al Ghazal:

• Tour of NBG showing participatory film content (and other) to public at market days.

• Tour of NBG showing participatory film content (and other) in Misseriya and Rizeigat fariqs and Dinka cattle camps

• Presentation of film to participants at migration conferences and review conferences

• Provide time for audience to copy desired films onto any USB or telephone memories they may possess so it can be shared onwards internally

• Misseriya and Rizeigat could take Cineboda with films and messages to their communities, including across the border, to overcome suspicion and mistrust

• Messages from key leaders on both sides could be recorded and shown alongside screenings

• Cineboda could be used to show participatory films and other content to Dinka Ngok and to Rek of Twic, to help open minds for upcoming peace opportunities

• Exploit microphone to engage audiences in discussion and feedback to peace processes (and to other communities)

• Include a small handycam-or use the supplied smartphone to collect audience perceptions before and after the film, for monitoring purposes.

• Include participatory video making tools in Cine-boda set up. Use Cineboda as an intercommunity dialogue tool, whereby content is recorded in one location after screenings, and then shown in the next location, where the audience can also record their response

• Disseminating other information such as health, laws, contents of peace agreements, animal health, educational..

• To provide roving news where updated content is delivered remotely on an ongoing basis to ensure up to date information circulates.

We are excited about Cineboda version II. If you stumbled on this post, check out Parts I , Parts II and Part III. Please get in touch with your comments and feedback.

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Chris Milner

Chris is a conflict transformation specialist and producer with substantial political, research and creative experience with both communities at the grassroots and policy processes at the highest level.

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