Professional Experience #2 – TV Studio

For this professional experience opportunity, I will be working with a group of students, spending 6 days in the TV studio at University working on a set of tutorial videos that will be used in the future to show the how different pieces of equipment works.

Opportunity: The TV Studio Tutorials

Dates: Tuesday 27th March – Friday 13th April

Day 1 – Tuesday 27th March

Today was our pre-production day. We met up at 10 o’clock in the TV studio and worked on the various bits and pieces we needed to make a successful set of tutorial video’s. The first discussion of the day was the particular roles we wanted to do. I asked to be either the director or producer of the videos and as a group we decided it was best that both myself and Tom co-direct whilst I would take on the role of producer and script writer as-well. I really wanted to get my hands stuck right into this and was happy to take on more then 1 role. The next item on the agenda was which pieces from the TV studio we wanted to capture. I put forward that it was the main things that we wanted to look at, which were, the autocue, the vision mixer, the camera’s, studio sound, gallery sound, VTs and talkback. We decided as a group that perhaps the VTs and camera’s weren’t needed as they were very simple to pick up on and don’t need a whole video devoted to them. We also grouped both the sound options together to leave us with;

  • The Autocue
  • Sound
  • Talkback
  • Vision Mixer

The next stage was to discuss how we were going to film these videos and the style. Several members of the group put forward their ideas, such as Celebrity Masks, a 70s theme base on tomorrows world, a simple horror, or just basic videos on how to use the equipment. I argued that just making these video’s simply was a very boring and safe option. We then discussed what we could do with the 70s theme, such as having an actor in old style clothes, using puns that reflect the modern day and the grading the films in the way TV looks. I was liking the idea more and more, and as a group we decided this was our best option. I set the group a few tasks for the rest of the day so that we would be ready for our shoot. Tom was put in charge of finding an actor, and Scott and Sophie were put in charge of props’s. I took the time to have a look around the studio and just re-jog my memory on the equipment. I felt confident already, but it was a good opportunity just to clarify my own knowledge. Once the group got back, we decided on which date was the best to film. The only day the studio was available was this Thursday so we had to get cracking. We confirmed the actor’s availability and the props we would use and we were all set, that was until I reminded people about the scripts. I noted that it was a very short time frame for me to write 4 tutorial scripts and get them to the actor for him to look over within 24 hours, but it was the best we could do in the short time frame.

Overall I’m really happy with what we produced in a day. It was good to see a group finally working well together and have thoughtful and proper discussions giving both positive and negatives to everything that was brought up in the meeting. Tomorrow is going to be a long day for me.

Day 2 – Wednesday 28th March

I got up really early and headed into the TV studio with my Macbook in tow. I booted up the all the machines to get the correct order that you do thing’s so that the video’s would make sense. I made small notes on each piece of equipment so that it would be easier to write the scripts. All in all it took about 5 hours to get everything written (including a few pun’s). I needed to think of a witty title to go along with the video’s. I remember that we wanted to base these video’s on the old-style of Tomorrow’s world, So i changed our title to TV Tomorrow, Today. At this point I watched a couple of Tomorrow’s world episodes and noticed they use “this is extraordinary” a lot during their script’s, so I mimic’d this by using our version “this is pretty remarkable stuff”. I showed the scripts to both Tom and Bex who really like them which boosted my confidence in my writing skills. Tom sent them along to Rob (our actor) to see if he was OK with them.

Here’s are some screen shot’s of the script.

Day 3 – Thursday 29th March

Today was our first day of filming. We met in the TV studio at 9 o’clock and started to organise the studio into a professional looking environment. I noticed that we didn’t have any of the TV studio equipment that we needed to show during the tutorials. This was partly my fault as producer but I kind of expected somebody else to sort it considering the amount I’ve had to do the past 24 hours! A lesson learnt, don’t depend on others! Rob, our actor arrived at 10:00 and we got him into costume. Tom ran through the script’s for the day. We decided at this point that we had too little time to do all 4 scripts especially with Rob not knowing how to use the equipment himself! Kind of ironic considering were making tutorial video’s. We started with the autocue script at around 10.45.  The first problem we encountered was the lighting. The gallery is only a very small and enclosed environment so it was hard to get the lighting spot on so we just went with the best we could. I think looking back at the rushes this evening, we should of spent a little more time of getting it looking perfect, but that’s a decision that the director took and I stand by him for that. The rest of the day went smoothly but I felt that certain members of the group could of made more of an effort instead of just sitting there when there was plenty of things to do such as setting up the studio for the next set of scenes.

Day 4 – Wednesday 4th April

Today was our second shooting day for the TV studio tutorials we are making. There was a few crew adjustments today, meaning that there was only 4 of us on set. It actually turned out to be much better. These videos are much more suited to a smaller crew. It was very easy making sure everybody was happy with their roles and they knew what they were doing, and there was no distractions as the crew got on with each other really well. Most of my day was set making minor script adjustments and taking Rob through the equipment we were using that day, which was the talkback and the vision mixer. As we were well prepared and knew the shots that we wanted, we took our time to make sure everything ran smoothly which helped a lot. I thought we rushed a few things on last week’s shoot, which I told Tom about and he agreed that we should take more care in what we were doing. The 2 new crew members made life a lot easier, they just got on with your job. Everything does go better when people know what they were doing. We finished around 17:00 and I headed off with the footage ready to start editing it next week.

Day 5 – Tuesday 10th April

Today was all about capturing the footage and getting it renamed, logged and time-coded. Obviously, with 4 videos to sort out, it was going to take a long time. Overall, we had about 30/40 minutes of rushes for each video that we made.

I took 1 at a time and spent the day going through each clip and giving them a description and renaming them. What this will do is make the editing process easier. We can just look at the scripts and choose the clip that matches that sequence.

The problem that I found today though was that I was replaying the clips over and over again thinking out how to edit them. That wasted time. What also wasted time was that I was watching the clips and enjoying them too much because of the comedic element. Perhaps it was unprofessional to do so, but it was great to see my thoughts and my script being  acted and told so well on screen. Quite a proud moment.

Day 6 – Thursday 12th April

So with our shooting now complete it was time to edit the footage and get it completed by the weekend. Me and Tom met at 9 o’clock in the editing suite to give us most of the day to get the video’s complete. We split the video’s evenly, I took the autocue and sound video’s, whilst Tom took the talkback and vision mixer. To make life easier, I had already renamed each rush clip and gave it a small description earlier in the week, and that definitely helps when coming to edit as your not wasting time looking through clips. It took a bit longer then expected when editing the videos. There were several good clips to use and most of the time was spent choosing between them. I also had to use a few freeze frames when showing close up’s of the equipment, this was because we recorded a voice-over for the tutorial parts and used a different clip of the actual visuals which were out of time by 10/20secs. As it was getting quite late in the day, me and Tom took the decision just to get the video’s into some kind of rough cut for today, and tomorrow we will tidy them up and then grade the videos. I also suggested that we take each other’s completed video’s tonight and suggest ways they could be improved. This turned out to be a nice thing to do. I watched the rough exports back during this evening and noticed a few mistakes, such as the voice over talking over a completely different part of the video, and I could also hear the director during the video saying “action” which just meant that the edit needed to be a tad tighter. I also took the opportunity to look at some tips on grading when using final cut, so I searched for some tutorials on Youtube and made some quick notes that would help me tomorrows

Today has shown me that the edit does take a considerable amount of time to complete well. The lack of distractions also helps but you really need to concentrate. My patience was put to the test a few times, and I was glad to have Tom there to keep me on track. Taking breaks also helps massively, so time management is key to be successful.

Day 7 – Friday 13th April

So after finishing the majority of the editing yesterday, today was all about making the final adjustments to make sure everything was perfect. Tom met me down in the editing quite at 10am. We passed on each other’s notes and made the adjustments that were needed. We decided that I should get on with the grading of the video’s, whilst Tom made a title sequence and found the sound effects and title music we needed. To start the grading process, I dropped a yellow coloured sequence over the top of the footage, dropped the opacity and 3 way colour corrected each clip. The hard part was getting each clip to match, especially when we moved from the studio into the gallery or vice-versa. Normally I would use ‘Magic Bullet’ which would automatically try and match the clips for you, but for some reason the editing suite doesn’t have the software (something that I have now mentioned to the lecturers). But I felt it was good to learn some new techniques. By the time I had finished the 4 gradings, Tom had completed the title sequence, fresh with credits and 70’s looking font. He also managed to add an ‘bad-TV’ effect to it which gave it that authenticity. Once we had found a piece of title music to go with the videos, we exported the title sequence and added it to each specific edit. I then started to export each video. Half way through the second video, I had noticed we forgot  to add any credits, so we had to go back through each video and do so. A bit of a ‘school-boy’ error.

[vimeo https://vimeo.com/40867939] [vimeo https://vimeo.com/40867940] [vimeo https://vimeo.com/40870763]

Looking at the finished videos, I think we can be very proud of what we have achieved in such a short space of time. It was great to work with some members of the team, who acted very professionally throughout where-as some others just didn’t seem that interested. I have been in this world for 22 years now, and people haven’t changed that much. But you just have to get on with it and make the best of the opportunity you can. We have made some mistakes through the process, such as making a mistake on the vision mixer video, but that can easily be rectified with a re-edit and a small voice over. It was good to see the other members of the group praise me for my efforts during the process which has made me more aware of my skills. If i was to do something like this again, I would try and get a small group together who are going to work hard on the project and not take interest for 5 minutes then leave us high and dry. Overall, I am happy i took on so many responsibilities during the task which I am dure will only help me in the future.

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