CCi Live 30/11/2012

This weeks show focuses on a few of the most popular societies within the UoP. We show the Basketball society, the Dance society and the Comedy society. The show includes a live stand up from a member of the comedy society, and a live interview explaining how to become interested in the area. Also included in this week’s packed show, Purple Door’s placement and recruitment fayre, which includes a very informative interview with the careers manager explaining the advantages and usefulness of the graduate fayre. Our “Something Different” includes arts and crafts: How to make your own Christmas Gift, made and presented by local artist Tracy Herrity.

TVBRO Week 9 19/11/12-25/11/12

Well, this was a pretty challenging week. Despite our best efforts to correct some of the problems we had with timeliness during the production of our first episode, we found ourselves hard up against production deadlines all throughout this week. As the old saying goes, the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry. Despite our planning, issues kept developing which cause us problems right up to and including the morning of the show.

What I had planned to focus on this week was finishing up writing the Script. Which I did do. But it wasn’t without its problems. After submitting the first draft, I was informed that Steve Wicks, who we had planned to use as our News Presenter, was ineligible as he had not completed a Screen Test the previous week as I had instructed him. This meant I had to get in touch with a Presenter from the pool to ask them to step in. Luckily, Charlie Jackson agreed immediately. We also ran into serious slippage problems with getting drafts of the script in for the various deadlines throughout the week as I found myself constantly waiting for the News Script, which Steven had been writing separately, to be sent over.

In the end; myself, Jodie & Laura had to write more of it anyway, as once we did have it in, we were informed that it was not long enough and one of the items was unsuitable.

Amidst all this, I wound up having to take over editing the Chris Solarski insert as nobody else was available to start it on Monday when we got the rushes through from the team who filmed it. In fact, I wound up also having to source the footage of Chris’s work and film some additional cutaways myself, as there was nobody else available, with various other things going on. This meant I had less time to spend taking care of the various pieces of paperwork which fall under my purview as the Producer, an issue which eventually came to head late on Wednesday when a delay relating to staff being busy during the day meant a late review of the insert.

Essentially, by the time the insert was reviewed for broadcast approval that day, there was only Thursday left to perform any additional editing, with the mandatory rehearsal that afternoon meaning it wasn’t even all of Thursday. And with the other tasks I needed to catch up on, I was not able to dedicate the several hours of work needed to make the requested changes. As a result, Peter was encouraged by staff to come in and take over, with assistance from the Studio Manager, on Thursday.

Wit that problem (seemingly) solved, I spent Thursday making tweaks to the script and collating my paperwork ready to hand in on Friday, before attending the rehearsal as the presenter. The rehearsal went fairly smoothly, although the show was a few minutes short. I wasn’t overly surprised by this, as we had had to reduce the length of the Show Choir insert from what we originally planned for pacing reasons, and the Egg Nog insert was very short once pieced together. Not overly concerned, I added some extra discussion to the script, just to make up a bit of the shortfall, but knew we would have to make do with coming off-air around 2 minutes early.

Unfortunately, unbeknownst to me, the new cut of the Chris Solarski insert had been reduced to a runtime significantly (Several minutes) less than it had been when I left it, and despite my having insisted that it could not be much (if any) shorter than it had been in my last cut because I was already concerned about runtime. I did’t hear about this reduction until the crewing team informed me that it did not match the running order, after Laura and I spent part of that morning finalising that and the Studio Script.

This caused a major problem, with the projected runtime now down to less than 25 minutes. We scrambled to make up some of the time by adding in some extra lines to the script, but there was only so much that could be done at that late stage with the script having been approved for air without these changes. Efforts to find a piece of archival material to fill with proved fruitless, and so unfortunately the show ran for just 23 minutes in the end.

I was incredibly disappointed about this. As we had been beginning to put the show together, it was looking very good. The quality of the inserts in isolation was generally quite high – significantly higher than those of our first episode. The trouble we had was, things we had planned kept going amiss and pushing things closer and closer towards the show, until we wound up in a situation where everything was being finished hard up against the deadlines, which consequently meant that we had no time to identify issues and then implement fixes. In this case, the issues boiled down almost entirely to runtime.

Had we been in a position to see all the inserts completely finished by Wednesday, I could have implemented a fix to make up the length of the show on Thursday – most likely by inviting another guest onto the show for a live interview. The lesson here is that you need to have flexibility and a time buffer to enable the resolution of issues as they come up.

In terms of actually presenting, I have mixed feelings about my performance. I certainly found it harder to do the show than usual, which I attribute to the fact that, by the time we actually went live, I had been stressing out about the show was running short for over an hour and racking my brains to try and implement a solution of some kind. It really isn’t a good situation to be in right before going on TV as a presenter. There is a reason it is considered poor form to give talent bad news right before they go live, and this week I lived that reason.

Unfortunately, it was a pretty unhappy week. On a more positive note though, that means the only way is up.

TVBRO Week 8 12/11/12-18/11/12

Things are beginning to take shape as of this week. On Monday, I had a meeting with the other Producers on CCi Live to discuss upcoming show ideas, formatting etc., and agreed to feature an interview (with Chris Solarski, a video game artist who graduated from the University) being taped as a central resource for the Faculty in our show. The team filming the interview for the University will be supplying us with the Rushes of the interview, meaning we only need to film some cutaways. We will also be getting ahold of some footage of Chris’s work, which will also serve as cutaways, making this primarily an editing job, which will take place mostly next week.

That evening we had two film shoots planned – the Show Choir insert and the Man Versus Food RAG Week event. I was part of the team shooting the Show Choir Insert, operating the camera and serving as de facto director (With Jodie busy most of the time taking part in the Show Choir itself, since she is the member who we made contact through).

The main challenge on this shoot was lighting. The Show Choir practices in the Guildhall in the evening. Since it was dark during the evening, the rooms we were in had their lights on, and these lights were ether very yellow, very orange or quite dim – a fact not helped by the fact that one of the spaces we were filming in featured somewhat reflective, metal surfaces. This bathed the room in slightly off-colour glows.

Consequently, it was important to get the white-balancing on the Sony EX1 we were filming with correct, to give the editors the best possible chance of correcting the colours in the edit process. Having never used an EX1 before, it took me a little time to get it set up the way we needed. However, we had accounted for this and deliberately arrived early to get set up. The main problem with it after initial setup came in the second room we were filming in.

This room featured the aforementioned metallic surfaces, which also featured some dark coloured artwork. As the camera was moving around this room to take shots from varying angles, it became necessary to switch on the Zebra function essentially each time a major movement was made, as different walls had very different peaks and lows for light, making it quite challenging to adjust the aperture correctly as what worked in one position would result in washing out large areas of the image from another.

As it turned out, we had been given the wrong start time for the Man Vs. Food event, and so the other team were ultimately unable to film it. Fortunately we had enough Inserts ideas on the go that we were able to move on quickly from that problem, and Steven had proposed a new insert to make up the numbers the next day, which I green lit immediately. This insert is a simple shoot showing how to make homemade egg nog, and we agreed to shoot it today (Sunday).

On this shoot, I took on the role of sound operator, monitoring the levels and adjusting them as needed. Since the shoot was relatively simple, this was a fairly painless experience for me and I found it quite enjoyable. When monitoring the sound, it becomes necessary to listen in very intently to what is coming through the headphones, as the slightest sounds can pose major challenges in the edit if, for example, they make a line unusable and there is no other take.

In part to mitigate this problem, I insisted on multiple take of every line being recorded, so that there was at least one alternate read of each line. For lines where there were problems or Jodie, who was the talent for this insert, was struggling to get a word out or saying it in an unusual way (Actually a more common problem for presenters – especially inexperienced ones – than many would think, as it is actually pretty challenging to properly comprehend what you sound like to other people when you speak) there were as many as four or five takes.

This evening we were originally planning to shoot the RAG Week Bush Tucker Challenge, but upon arriving at the venue and observing how things were set up, we realised that we were unlikely to get much, if any, usable footage. This would have been fine if we had been able to film the Man Vs. Food challenge, as we could have used footage from both shoots to make a more general RAG Week Insert, but the Bush Tucker Challenge on its own was not going to be enough to build an insert around without expending a lot of extra effort through the week. As a result, I’ve taken the decision to pull the plug on that insert and focus our attention on the inserts we have the most chance of succeeding with – the Show Choir Insert, the Chris Solarski Interview,  the Egg Nog ‘Something Different’ Insert and another photography showcase.

Also this week, we learned of a change to the rules regarding using members of the Production team as presenters, which means that I am going to be able to present  this episode, which is great as it allows me to get more on-air, live experience. I had been worried that, with most groups either using presenters from outside the course or gravitating to a select few favourites I was going to be off the air for the rest of the year.

TVBRO Week 7 5/11/12-11/11/12

This week, we began to finalise plans to film for the inserts in earnest. We had agreements in place for inserts on Rowan’s Hospice, The University Show Choir, the RAG Week Man vs. Food Challenge and possibly the RAG Week Bush Tucker Challenge.

We had a shoot planned for the Rowan’s Hospice Insert on Saturday, with the Man Vs. Food and Show Choir inserts taping this Monday evening. However, on Friday, it emerged that the permission given by the Rowan’s Hospice people to film at their event on Saturday was being withdrawn over a clerical error in their chain of command. As a result, we took the decision to explore the possibility of producing another showcase insert like the photography and music insert we used in our first episode, in case we needed to fill a whole due to force-majeure.

With some idea of what the show is going to feature coming together, I made a start on the script for the show today. Since some of the inserts are subject to change, I stuck mainly to writing the introduction and outlining a rouge structure for the show – the arrangement of the various inserts and other elements overall. This actually brings up an interesting point.

In our first episode, I placed the regular CCi News Segment in the middle, the idea being to use it to break the show up a bit. A while after our show aired, I became aware of a mandate to place the News at the front of the show going forward, which presents an interesting challenge in preventing the show from becoming a procession of inserts. Because of this change, the need to feature the presenters talking about things between times is increased, essentially, as this is the best way to break up the show with the elements left after moving the news up.

Another new element to consider is the new mandatory “Something Different” segment, a segment created by another group using a bespoke sting to identify it, which uses the relatively nebulous theme of showcasing things which are a little off the beaten path. From seeing it in episodes airing it so far, it seems to me as if it generally comes towards the end of the show, usually as the final segment before the wrap up.

The format of this second episode will consequently see the inserts forming the filling of a sort of sandwich between the two mandatory elements. This is actually pretty helpful, as it makes not using the news in the middle slightly less problematic for me from a structural standpoint, giving the show the clear bookends I would prefer it to have.

TVBRO Week 6 29/10/12-4/11/12

We had two major areas to discuss this week. One was the continuing of the planning for the November 23 edition of CCi Live. The other was about choosing a Producer, and beginning to pitch ideas for, our “Commissioned Show”. This a separate show from CCi Live we are making later in the year, based on our own format and ideas. It requires a 20-minute pilot early in 2013, before producing a final 30-minute version for the Faculty’s end of year show.

The producer had to be someone who we could rely on to be around and available for the show at pretty much all times. It also can’t be either myself or Jodie Redwood, as I will be busy producing our third CCi Live which, while shorter than the others (At only 10 minutes), nonetheless airs the same day as the commissioned show pilot in January.

We decided Alex Hull, who had essentially taken up a third-in-command position on CCi Live and our TVTRANS outside broadcast (I am first and second in Command for these respectively, Jodie is the inverse) would be the best choice, and began pitching ideas for a format. My favourite idea for a format is a talk show, but I would want to present such a show, so that is something we’d have to consider later.

Other ideas we are floating include some kind of cooking show, or a talent competition of some sort. With the more pressing issue of producing the upcoming CCi Live episode, we decided t come back to the format question for the commissioned show later.

We decided to abandon the idea of theming the whole episode around charities, for much the same reason I had been concerned about the idea in the first place. We were having difficulty getting in touch withe enough suitable charities, so I opted instead to green light the show choir insert and keep up the efforts to arrange the charity inserts with those we had managed to contact in the meantime, but also opened the floor to suggestions for replacements.

In terms of the charity inserts we are carrying forward, we have contact with Rowan’s Hospice to film a dancing event they are arranging and the Student Union has cleared us to film events involved in their RAG Week initiative.

We considered an insert relating to the switch on of Christmas Lights in the city, which falls relatively in line with the timing of the episode. It’s unlikely we’ll carry this insert forward though as it sounds like there may be a clash with another group’s episode.