Production Pictures

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Unique Contribution

My main role was the Vision Mixer of the group. Originally I went up for the role of director but I didn’t get it but I was more content with the vision mixer role as I thought I was learning more than I would have done if I was just a director as I have had directing roles in the past before but I had never used the vision mixing equipment so it was a good opportunity for me to learn.

I was involved in the planning of the programme apart from the set design as I am terrible at that sort of thing and I thought It was better to leave that to someone with a better eye for design. I worked closely with the director and advised on different shots that we could use and also pointed out when the cameras were out of focus so she could correct the problem.

I also played a massive part in the filming of the Festivals VT as I was the only person with a car at the time I booked out all the equipment and took everyone involved to the location, I then had to go around looking for a camping shop as we forgot some of the props and had to go and buy them, I also operated one of the cameras in the filming process.

I would have liked to play a bigger part in the production buy unfortunately May was a terrible month for me as I had family problems and one week before we were due to record the show I had a car accident which meant I missed a weeks worth of meetings.

I think when I was working with the director I did do a lot of good, my team had told me they voted me for vision mixer because they thought I had a good visual eye and my favourite part of any production is the editing (I was disappointed that there was no editing In this production) and I think I worked well as part of the team when I could be there. I helped book out equipment and I took people places and helped them film, I put forward a lot of ideas in the planning process and I thought I bought abit of humour to the group too to keep spirits up, but I’m not sure I could have just been annoying.

Sources

All sources came from these addresses:

Vision Mixer Information

http://ww2.prospects.ac.uk/p/types_of_job/vision_mixer_job_description.jsp

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vision_mixer

http://www.skillset.org/tv/jobs/Studio_Broadcast/article_5483_1.asp

Reflection

This module has been one big learning curve for me. I think that I have come a long way and learned a lot about different ways to produce and broadcast media.

I have definitely learned the importance of teamwork in this module. Our show would have never come together if it wasn’t for all of us pulling together to make good use of the time we had. Even though I missed a few of the session because of personal problems I think that in the sessions I attended the team got along and everyone pulled their weight and the show turned out to be amazing because of it. Now that I am moving to Coventry for the next year I shouldn’t have any excuse to miss any more sessions as I will have easy access to the university.

I have learned that producing a magazine show is much harder than it looks and requires weeks of preparation and planning for just a 20min programme. If any one little thing goes wrong the whole show is ruined and the recording has to begin again from the beginning. I had no idea that there were people that did this kind of thing for a living I always thought that television shows were all made the same way and I have learned there are different ways to produce and show and this is one of the hardest ways I can think of to do it.

I have gained a lot of experience with the mixing desk in this module and I have a much better understanding of the equipment now than I did before I started. I think it is a very powerful piece of equipment as it can add effects and switch between cameras angles live on the air without any post production required. There are so many settings on the desk that I didn’t have chance to learn them all but I did expand my knowledge of chroma keying and how the lighting effects how well the chroma keying works in the shot. I didn’t have to do much chroma keying just make sure it was set up ok to bring in the titles when they were required but I still learned a lot from it.

I also learned a lot about setting up the studio mainly the talkback as I didn’t know how to set it up before we went into the studio, by observing my team mates I picked up on how to do it and hopefully I will remember it for future reference if I ever need to do it again.

All in all I think I have gained a lot of experience on broadcast media, I have picked up new skills and learned that not all television media is produced the same way, I feel like this module has been very beneficial to expanding my knowledge to all areas of media.

Module Questions

1. Why are studios used to make programmes when tape is so cheap and available?

Studios are used to make magazine shows as once a set has been made it can be stored and brought out into the studio when it is needed. The set for “This Morning will never need to be moved or changed because it is set up in a stable place where the show can always be filmed. This saves a lot of time and money on set design and building as the set will only need to be maintained. It also makes making the show more efficient as the cast and crew will always be familiar with the area they are working in and as long as a risk assessment has been done for the set once it is rare one will need to be done again unless it is required for a certain item. Using studios may be more expensive than tape but it will pay for itself over the months if you never have to change location.

2. What are magazine programmes?  Why do audiences like them?

There are two types of magazine shows. A general magazine show or a specialist magazine show. A specialist magazine show is based on one particular subject for example “Top Gear” is specialist as it only shows items based on cars. However “This Morning” is a general show because it has items on a range of subjects. The shows can be shown at any time depending on the audience they are aimed at. Audiences like shows like This Morning because of their light heartedness and general approach to new like stories. They broadcast interesting items that keep the audiences attention and they feel comfortable with the presenters as they make the audience feel at easy with their presenting style. There is also some humour in the shows too and it offers the audience a chance for escapism, to get away from the troubles of life for an hour or too and just enjoy the show. Audiences like shows like Top Gear mainly to learn about the subject the show is based on in this case it is cars. There normally is a lot of humour in these shows which also offer a chance for escapism which I probably why most people watch it but also the hypodermic needle theory comes into play here as the audience is also learning something about the subject whether they realise it or not.

Magazine shows main purpose is to entertain their target audience which I think they do very well. They are made up by segments called items. Most magazine shows have an interview with a celebrity or a person that has been in the news. In a general magazine show they sometimes have an item about interesting news stories. They have items maybe demonstrating a product or maybe an item about wining a holiday or a big wad of cash. All the items are recorded live and in one take they are then broadcast to the public.

3. What are the limitations of magazine shows?  How can they be improved to ensure they continue?

Magazine shows in my opinion can have no limitations, as long as they have new Vts that will keep the audiences attention then they should be able to continue as they have done before. However they are being forced to evolve as new media sources become readily available such as the internet. People can get entertainment and information from places other than magazine shows now and the shows need to evolve and get new material if they are going to keep viewers tuned in and not out surfing the internet for better forms of entertainment. Shows like Top Gear have found this balance with some clever writing. They occasionally have an episode out of their normal format and have a whole episode dedicated to pure entertainment (having an entire episode based on a big challenge) It may be easier for specialist shows to be able to do this as their audience tunes in specifically to watch a show based on their topic of interest. It is harder for general magazine shows to evolve however because their audience is much bigger and they will have to find new ways to keep their attention whilst still keeping the show in the same format as it was.

I suppose the limitations of a magazine show is the difficulty it will have keeping up with how the media is moving on. Producers can’t completely change the show because it won’t be the same show as it once was but they do need to find a way to give new material to the audiences without loosing views and without completely changing the tone of the show.

4. Consider other sources of distribution for magazines type shows?

The way forward for magazine shows is definitely to expand to the internet. If they did shorter shows with just a few Vts in them then I think that audiences will log onto the internet to watch the shows as well as tune into their televisions to watch them too. I’m not saying get rid of the bigger shows on TV I’m just saying if they also did smaller shows for the internet too then I think they would gain more viewers and become even more popular. I also think if the show was made correctly they could also do radio shows for people that just wanted to relax and tune out to everything else. I think this would be very popular with audiences and it would increase the popularity of the shows.

The Process & Evaluation

All in all the production turned out just the way we wanted it to. Everyone turned up for the meetings and played their roles perfectly and especially the camera operators improved a lot as the practise session went on. I think we managed to get the set and the props all sorted out on time and all of our external actors turned up, we couldn’t have asked for a better shooting day.

My role was the vision mixer throughout the practise sessions. I feel like I really learned a lot in this role as I had never used a mixing desk before and it gave me the opportunity to experiment with the equipment and learn a new way to edit a production. I felt very comfortable in this role as I am more used to editing a production and making sure it looks visually correct so this role suited me down to the ground and I was very happy doing the role.

This month hasn’t been the best month for me in terms of home life I had a lot of family problems and I was also in a car accident which mean I missed a weeks worth of practise sessions and someone had to stand in for me at the time. Luckily I managed to get a new car before the shooting day of the production but by that time the person who had been filling in for me had learned all the timings to the production and we felt it best for the good of the show to have that person be vision mixer for the shooting of the show whilst I did the position of runner.

I was disappointed that I didn’t get to be vision mixer for the shoot but I was happy to still be apart of the production, I was mainly in charge of set changes and keeping the guests happy in between their segments.

I think the planning process started off slowly to begin with but as we got into the routine of meeting up regularly I think the show really got up speed and we managed to get it all planned out in no time at all, we had to do editing along the way to comply with things like heath and safety and risk assessments but I think we were all happy with how the show turned out.

I think everyone pulled their weight in the production everyone helped with setting up equipment and getting the set ready on the day of shooting, I was unfamiliar with setting up the talkback because I was not there for the workshop we had on it before the module started but I was taught by one of my team mates, we all helped each other out when we needed it and no-one had any problems with volunteering with filming Vts or carrying out tasks that had to be done.

There were disagreements in the team we all got along with each other. There was no-one in the group I didn’t like or get along with and I think that this is the reason why we functioned so well as a team.

I feel like I learned a lot doing the vision mixing. I already knew how to chroma key a scene but I really noticed the difference that the lighting makes to the process, you have to get it just right to make sure the titles pop up correctly and the correct colours are being substituted. I also found out how much you have to concentrate on what you have to do to change angles. You have to focus on every screen at once and also make sure you are pressing the right buttons on the desk to change angles. Bringing in the Vts is also a challenge too as you have to make sure you select the right buttons for the VT by making sure you press the shift key before you press the button.

I also learned a lot about the talk back as I hadn’t had any experience with that before the studio work I learned how to connect each box and headset to each other to make sure everyone could heard each other and also connecting it to the gallery so the director could communicate with the studio. Working next to the sound desk also gave me an opportunity to learn a little more about how each different slider works. We didn’t need to use every slider but I saw how the sound mixer used the gain to make the voices louder and used the faders also to make sure all of the sound levels were equal and none were louder than the others. I also saw how complicated it was and with how much precision he had to operate the faders to bring in the VT sound whilst muting the presenters microphones at the same time and vise versa. All the time the faders were being moved he had to make sure they went back to the right place to keep the volume of each person the same.

Problems and Solutions

I think because we all worked well as a team we didn’t come up against many problems within the planning and production of our magazine show. Not that there weren’t a few hitches in our production but who doesn’t have problems?

One of the biggest problems that I faced was when I went to film the Festivals VT with a few of my team mates and we had forgotten some of the props needed to film the VT. I had to take my car and one member with me to search all over Coventry for a camping shop so that we could buy the props we needed. It wasn’t easy finding the shop as neither me or the person who came with me lived in coventry and we didn’t know the area that well but luckily I had my blackberry and my satnav with me so after about 30mins of looking we eventually found the place and bought the props.

Another frequent problem was that sometimes when we came to meet some of the equipment wasn’t in the loan shop but that was easily fixed all we had to do was find a tutor to get the equipment that we needed.

I had a lot of personal problems this week In that I had a few family problems which meant a missed one or two of the group meeting we had but once they were solved I got back into regular meetings, however a week before we were due to shoot I was in a car accident where somebody drove into the back of my car and wrote it off which meant I couldn’t get to any group meetings until I could get a new car, luckily I got one the day before the final shoot and I managed to make it in but my team mates had decided by that point I had missed the final practise session and it was better to let someone else do the vision mixing so I was put in the role of Runner instead.

The team also had little problems like making sure the timings where dead on to the second so that the floor manager could give accurate instructions, even on the final shoot the timings were a little off but it worked out ok because the director and floor manager worked out a system between each other to improve the timings of the VTs.

Other than that I think that all the planning went well, we all met up on time to film VTs and to have group meetings, we got all of our props and set on time and when we came to film the actual production all of the external actors we had arranged came in, although some of them gave us a scare by coming in late but it all worked out in the end and even if they hadn’t have arrived at all we had back ups so we wouldn’t have been without actors.

Our mentors also turned up to practically every meeting with us so we had a lot of help and guidance from them and I think the production ran a lot smoother because of it.