For my professional experience I decided to work on a number of different projects. Some were self-managed and others were more like traditional placements, although they were both voluntary places. The places I worked for/with or started working with for my professional experience were:
The Birmingham County Football Association
The West Midlands Police
Coventry University Accidental Seduction Film Group
‘Blind Faith’ Television Pilot
These were a fairly wide variety of projects and placements. Many of them were chosen by me simply because of easy access and introduction from the university, only Corby Radio was not linked in some way to the uni, however having said that I did not choose any of these projects as an easy option, far from it in fact. I felt that the FA and Accidental.. Projects especially provided a wide range of challenges from the get go. Particularly while we were trying to secure funding for Prague. I went with some of these choices based on work I had seen on previous trips in the case of accidental seduction. I went with the Radio volunteering because I wished to improve my skills in radio broadcasting and sound editing as well as seeing how a small business worked in the case of Corby radio.
The journey that has been taken during professional Experience has been at times difficult but in general thoroughly enjoyable, My prior contacts were slim to none beyond my course and I’m glad to see I have met many helpful contacts throughout my time working on this module, My prior knowledge and interests certainly helped me decided the projects I worked on, I wished to test my skills abroad as well as getting a big name on my CV (extra bonus that it was the FA) and also wished to improve my radio knowledge. Skills that have been enhanced by this module include:
. Practical Camera skills
. Editing skills.
However over the course of this experience it has certainly been a case of “the more I know, the more I realise how little I know” I recognise that my confidence and leadership abilities have improved, but I still recognize that there is still a long way to go, I have also made many mistakes during this module (including not planning well enough in advance, leaving things late) which will help enhance my thinking of similar projects. In terms of my career goals and lifetime plans this has helped me to understand a bit better how the world of freelance media could work, at the start of this module I had no idea where I wanted to go after university and while I still can’t say I’m certain where I will go I now start to see myself more and more as a camera operator , I’m starting to realise that at least for the moment I don’t have the skills to take on full leadership of a project so I feel I’m much more likely to work for someone else rather than start my own company. However I’m also starting to realise the value of having a wide range of contacts and skills in your inventory so will be looking to act on as many opportunities’ as possible in my final year.
My next steps as mentioned previously include improving the skills I already have as well as the personal skills I feel I may be lacking, I’ve already got some further professional experience arranged in the shape of the West Midlands Police and The BBC Big Screens Project as well as continuing with Source Radio and finishing off the final touches to the FA DVD. I’ve also set myself a target of learning Adobe after effects as research has shown me how useful it is to have those skills or at the very least an understanding of how they work under my belt. I also aim to improve my editing skills further. I aim to improve my skills in these areas by simply by practicing any free chance I get whilst I still have access to the universities equipment. I also aim to further build my contacts and see about further paid opportunities’ for after my course has finished.
The good, the bad and the ugly. During this module several things have gone very, very well for me. I have gained a number of contacts which will help me in the future, I have also built up relations with the contacts I already had, I have learnt not only the skills I have but some of the skills I lack, which allows me to improve upon them in the future. However throughout the course of the module a lot of things have gone wrong. As mentioned previously organisation of the FA project was a bit of a nightmare at times, trying to get people to meet their times as well as have a consistency in style and equipment was a lot harder than I could have anticipated, making it very difficult to get as much footage worth using from some of the shoots as we would have liked. Other things that have gone badly wrong include the work I have done with source radio as timings and errors in originisation have prevented me doing some of the work I had orginised. Also whilst in Prague I learnt what can happen when timing is left to run as we ended up shooting the majority of the film on the final day of shooting for nearly 12 hours into the early hours of the next morning, this was much later than we originally planned. All of these have made me realise how much can go wrong in the world of media but also how important it is to keep a steady mind and strong will and get what’s needed done at the end of the day and that is possibly the most important lesson I could have learnt from experience during this module.
Here is a list of contacts I have met through this module and how they could be helpful in the future.
Sunny Sahota – Marketing at the BCFA
Sunny is the perosn who has been in charge of the FA Project, She would be a useful contact in the future who is well-connected and could possibly lead me onto others that could progress my media career.
Des Barber – Station Manager Corby Radio
Des’ could prove useful as a contact in radio but also in getting my foot in the door with local events (should i stay in Corby/Northamptionshire)
Stewart Mcneil – News Editor/Presenter Corby Radio
As with Des Stewart would be a good contact in Local Radio and events.
Greg – Funeral For a Friend tour manager and Steph Van Spronsen of Hart Media.
These were the two people that orginised the interview with FFAF, I could possibly use Hart media again in the future to orginise further interviews for Source Radio.
Sean Keaney – Current 3rd year M-Pro Student and Accidental Seduction director.
Sean is just finishing off his degree, but maybe a useful contact to keep hold of (aswell as the rest of the 3rd year film group) in case of any further projects in the future.
Charley Jordan – Radio presenter.
I contacted Charley through a relative when I was starting with Source Radio, although I didn’t work with her she gave me some advice on working in the radio and getting a good show going, She could be a useful contact in the future due to her background with the BBC.
In this module I have been able to evaluate and reconsider my career path aswell as my own personal strengths and weaknesses. For each of the projects I had a role in I shall discuss my teamworking abilities, how it has affected my creative work and what skills i have learnt/improved or still need improving.
The FA Project.
For this role I’d say that I worked quite well as a member of a team during filming shoots. I was good a helping people to try and get a good shot but would also criticise any that I felt could be improved. I also accepted that criticism of people several times. However I feel that my leadership skills could certainly have been improved upon. As I have mentioned on this blog before I learnt quite quickly it’s better to go with a small committed group rather than try and get a large group to do a little bit each. I will be the first to admit that I could not get people to commit to the project in the way that i’d have liked. Also I failed to take into account things like what to do if our first choice camera wasn’t available, who would edit the final piece (initially) and just what the chain of command was within the group, In defence to myself I never claimed to take a leadership role, but I was looked upon as the leader by many within the group, If I was to take on a role similar again I would need to be certain to make all issues and soloutions clear at the start of any project, aswell as establish peoples roles at the earliest opportunity.
Creatively this project has been great for me, whenever possible I aimed to make a shooting (although that wasn’t as often as I would have liked) I would love to go into shooting live events after univeristy so the football game filming was a great opportunity for me, We had several issues based on cameras throughout the project, because of the lack of cameras we often had to switch makes and models for each shoot, meaning that in the edit there’s an obviously quality difference, in the future i’d be preferable to make sure we have a camera we could always use, but of course in this case it was impossible to guarantee use of a single camera.
From this project so far (we are still at editing) I have learnt a lot about my own (lack of) leadership abilities which I now consider one of my top skills I need to improve, I have learnt alot about how media projects for outside orginisations work and how the chain of communication works for projects at the FA.
Although I had my own radio show I had to attend regular meetings with source radio to discuss issues and oppurtunites with the group, this was a great way to make sure we were all on the same page as far as making the radio reach alot more people across the university. My creative and presentation skills were certianly improved by appearing on the radio regularly as it allowed me to experiment with ideas aswell as consider what did and didn’t work with me and my audience, aswell as improve my technical audio skills. I still feel that I could improve certain aspects of my technical side of presenting aswell as getting involved further behind the scenes.
Prague Accidental Seduction:
Teamwork was an essential part of this piece, Not only for our group but for the ‘once upon a time’ group that also went along to Prague, before we went out to film we all needed to get money to fund the experience, this was done by several events including several film nights and junk sales. from the start when we were handed Sean’s script we could see where the project was and see how he was planning for it to look, I wish we could have had more pratice sessions before heading out to prague and also know the full team a bit better, but whilst we were out there we all seemed to work quite well and everyone seemed to stick to their roles meaning there wasn’t a case of too many cooks, which was great during the more stressful nighttime scenes.
I honestly think some of the shots I got from this trip are the best I have ever shot, unfortunately I don’t have a copy of any of them at the moment as the film is in the editing stage and I did not recieve a backup of the majority of shots from this trip. what I have learnt from this trip was to have more confidence in my abilities as well as work in a foreign environment.
This was another place where teamwork was of course vital, I didn’t help out as much as I would have liked over the christmas holidays for a variety of reasons, but with that experience as well as helping out a lot of last summer I leanrt alot of how a radio station is actually run. I worked well in a team with stewart and the others I worked with during the time and throughout the experience I learnt to adapt to what was needed of me, be it busy or slow work days. Creatively i learnt the important skill of making pieces for a real-world radio station, something which i can’t really say about source radio as their rules are a lot more lenient than those of FM and DAB broadcasters.
Throughout the course of the year I have been hosting a show on student radio station Source which is broadcast Online and across the student union. Since my last post I have moved my show to Thursday evenings at 8pm until 10pm but unfortuantley I have been able to host less shows than previously due to a number of issues. over the course of the year, I’d say i’ve done about 12 2hr shows on Source Radio as well as guesting on a couple other shows (sam and jambo’s respectively) throughout this time I have learnt (as well as from my time at Corby Radio) how radio broadcasting can work, both stations are completly different from each other and both have different target audiences and rules and those would also differ majorly from say The BBC but the experiences i’ve had from both have prepared me for what other broadcasters would expect. for example, Corby Radio relies on audeience donation and advertising so giving the audience what they want is essential to the survival of the station, a lack of interest would quickly kill off the young station. whereas with Source, it’s low production costs beyond the equipment it already has means they don’t have to worry as much. both organizations are not-for-profit.
A couple of weeks ago I conducted an interview with lead singer of Alt-Rock band Funeral For A Friend – Matthew Davies – Kreye. This was an interesting experience. I was only aware I would be conducting the interview a day before he would appear in Coventry. I decided to work with Alex Hacking in preparing questions for the interview and also getting him to conduct a few questions. I was happy to be doing this interview for a number of reasons. 1. A few expected interviews had fallen apart before. 2. I had been a fan of FFAF since I was about 12 so I was genuinely inter ested in the band I was interviewing and 3. I felt like I needed some interview experience.
On the Wednesday I met up with Alex and put together a very rough draft of the questions we would ask. once we got that sorted I phoned up the Tour manager of FFAF outside of the Coventry Kasbah and then met up with Matthew inside his tour bus. I’m happy to say that for a first interview this was a pleasant experience and everyone involved was genuinely nice.
Once the interview was finished me and alex were able to see the gig as part of the guestlist and seen the band do what they do best. Once the evening ended I went straight to editing the piece which you can here below. I used Audacity to edit the interview and uploaded the piece on Soundcloud.
Here is the interview
I spoke to a friend of mine involved in the creation of new student magazine EV. He was looking for content so offered him this interview to use in his magazine aswell. He has since transcribed the piece and told me he will use it so expect to see that in there also.
EV Magazine Facebook
Source Radio Presents: The Late Shift Facebook
What this post will be is a recollection of all the dates I have done for the project since my last post. It’s been too long since I posted on this project and A lot has happened in that time so I will now do my best to get all the dates in this post, this will be amended if I realise I missed something out later on.
Thursday 31st March – Filming.
Me, Alex and Laurie – Ann took part in a full day of filming from my last blog post. once I posted that piece I met up with Alex and laurie ann and we booked out a camera (D90) and also went to alex’s to pick up a tripod before making the train to Aston. Once arriving in Aston, Sunny gave us a lift to the birmingham FA where we proceeded to get a bunch of ‘filler’ shots which were intended to break up the DVD a fair bit. these included shots of the pitch, the workers, the logo,etc…
we spent about an hour or so doing this and then went onto discussing plans for editing of the brochure and dvd, I decided on doing some edits of photographs for the brochure as well as doing what I could with editing, however Alex would remain as main editor.
we then had a bit of a break before heading over to West Bromich Albions football ground the hawthornes, where we proceeded to get photos and videos from the referrees awards ceremony, this was an interesting experience as it shown the difficulty of getting good footage whilst staying out of peoples way, I do believe we got some good footage though. once we left we decided to meet up the next Monday to again sift through the footage, however I lent Alex my Hard drive so that he could get a head start before hand, Sunny also sent me some photos to have a look at and try some effects with.
Monday 4th April
We met up again as a group at the ellen terry building to sort through the footage, fortunately Alex had done most of the hard work for us all ready, he had sorted through all of the footage and presneted to us what he thought the best shots were in a fairly organized order. This was extremely helpful, once we shown this to Sunny she agreed with the majority of shots but felt we needed to order them into categories for each of the different sections we had been given, whilst doing this we realized we had nothing for the section ‘women in football’ and realised we were missing a tape that had some footage of a recent girls football game on it. We also discussed ways to ‘jazz’ up the video, we discussed using after effects and I said i’d give it a go, but none of us are exactly brilliant at it. I had to leave the meeting a little bit early as they were fine-tuning the footage we had but I felt like I knew what was going on, We stated we would meet again on Wednesday (later changed to Thursday) to get one last bit of footage in Coventry.
Thursday 7th April
We met fairly early in the day at Ellen Terry to get camera equipment and get a lift from Sunny, we then went to Moat House Coventry to get some footage of the facilities, we spent a while getting some nic e experimental shots there and then discovered there was a training session going on, which we decided to spend a bit of time filming. after the shoot was done, we discussed how the project had gone thus far and what needed to be done, I had to get the remaining footage off of sam davies so I arranged to meet her the next day. Alex went home-home that night so after capturing the footage I took the camera off of him to return to the loan shop. He will continue editing from home on his Mac.
Friday 8th – today
From the friday what has happened on my end has been, getting the lost footage from Sam and then on Monday capturing the footage onto usb. I have also edited a number of photos to send to laurie-ann who is doing the brochure. at this point in time, I need to upload the footage online for alex to download or send him the usb via post and also pass on the photos to laurie-ann. I will also experiment with after effects tomorrow and try to get some effects using that for transitions in the video.
Below are photos taken throughout this period.
On Monday me, Alex Hacking and Sunny Sahota met up at the Ellen Terry building to look at the footage we had thus far and start to prepare a storyboard and editing schedule for the DVD. We also disccused the proposed leaflet to be sent with the DVD.
At this point in the process of the DVD I realised how big some of the ‘smaller’ issues from before were affecting me now. Throughout the course of the filming no one person was at every shoot, therefor there was a major breakdown in communication, each of the workers shot pieces using different cameras, different settings and different definitions presenting footage would looked very odd next to each other, I thank Anca for uploading the footage onto my hard drive to present but some of the footage looked horrible in the compression it was given, all of the shoots were done in 16:9 ratio but some uploaded in 4:3 ratio meaning that some of the footage looked a lot worse than it should have done. As we were looking through the footage we kept notes of the timecodes of any ‘great’ footage that we had managed to capture, the number of shots we were satisfied with was dissapointingly low. To combat this problem we will be doing two things.
1. We will Import the ‘dodgy’ footage again to try and improve the quality of the footage we have,
2. Today (Thursday 31st March) Me and Alex will be meeting up with Sunny in Birmingham and filming a bunch of ‘filler’ shots aswell as a referees conferance, hopefully this will sort out some of the issues we have with footage.
It is entirely possible as well that when we get back to the edit again (which is starting from next monday) we will find some footage that we missed which actually could work quite well,
At this stage I can now reflect at mistakes and problems at the earlier stages that I have now learned not to make in the future.
1. I have learnt that the most important part of any group, especially one of the size of this project is COMMUNICATION! I started a group on facebook to keep in touch with everyone, however this has not been completly effective due to people not seeing the messages and also not posting important infomation. for example it would have been good to see the recording settings people used for each of the shoots, so that others knew what to shoot in.
2. It is EXTREMELY important to have a defined leader of a given group. I think the main problem of this group was that I was seen as the ‘go-to’ person of this project, both from Sunny and the group in general, In theory I had no problem with that, as I fancied producing the piece and orginising that way, but we never defined a ‘director’ for the piece, I think people just assumed I was in charge of that whereas I left it in charge of people as they filmed, seeing as how I wouldn’t be at many shoots. In hindsight it would have been good to have planned a storyboard and shot list BEFORE we started shooting one piece of footage rather than shooting and seeing what we had. from this I learnt that my leadership skills can certinanly be improved, however this project has been a major learning curve in what not to do in similar projects in the future.
Well…this is me not too long recovered from a week away in Prague, but as you should probably be aware (at least if you are marking this for the module i’m writing this for) I was working as a camera operator for a film being shot there. The film was called accidental sudduction and at the point of writing is in it’s Post-Production phase. But here is my account of the near week away working on the production stage of this short film.
We all arrived at Ellen Terry at about 2am to get the coach to stansted airport. After MUCH delay we headed to the airport where we caught our flight to Prague, It was a 2 hour flight and after which we were confronted by the light snow and the infamous Czech temperature which i can thankfully say was not as bad as I was expecting (we were told that this was a very good week for weather) we then headed via coach to the hotel, organized rooms and chilled for a little bit. Later on we all went around Prague for a tour and a look around for filming locations. after a long day of the tour (I must have been awake for about 32 hours straight) I called an early night and prepared for more of the same the next day.
On the monday it was again scouting for locations from some of the group as they went round the city, I however helped out the lighting and sound lads in getting the mood right for the hotel scene, this gave me a chance to mess around with the JVC camera again whilst helping out to make sure the lighting looked ok and the sound sounded clear. We had some problems such as deciding to do this in the day. This was because the actual shoot would be at night and we could not darken the room enough naturally to make it appear like night, meaning the lighting at the time we scheduled would not be 100% helpful. We also had some issues with sound which Jimmy (sound) sorted later. after the test we met up with the rest of the group and had a plan of action meeting and a nice dinner. Items in the discussion included, the itenary for the next day and little bits about costs.
We awoke and headed into the centre of Prague Old town, an area where many feature-length films including Mission: Impossible have shot in in the past. We met up with our main character Donavon who would be playing the main character ‘Colin’ I was camera assistant for this shoot but as we only had the one camera I found myself just basically playing guard of equipment for much of the shoot. I felt a bit annoyed by it but I also didn’t want to inturrupt the flow that had been built up thus far, filming seemed to be going well. plus I knew I would get much more filming ops the next day and very early on.
Very, Very early start for this one, we were filming from about 9ish at a cafe near the Charles Bridge, we spent a while shooting scenes with ‘Colin’ and our lecturer Clifton playing the part of an old man. I feel like a got some interesting shots but I reckon I was a bit slow with allowing my initive to take over on some shots making them look not as good as they probably could and should have been. We then went off to film our street scenes which involved a ‘mugging’ and ‘colin’ meeting his love interest…(note beyond this I won’t be giving any further plot details, wait for the finished piece.) I felt this shoot went quite well and was fairly happy with the results. after this I went off with half of the group as we could only have a small number in the hotel for the scene being shot there that evening. I was filming on this shoot from roughly 9-3pm after that we all discussed an intenary for the next day.
For this one I was fortunate enough to get a long lie-in and my god would I need it. we started filming at the fairly late time of 4.30pm but well this one continued until 4am. We filmed a good number of scenes in a hotel room all of which had their own problems. but i have to praise everybody involved in this scene as we all felt the stress but I truly believe we acted like professionals the whole time, I honestly believe we produced some amazing shots as well. which I am really looking forward to showing off in the future. (but for now you will have to take my word for it.)
happy in the knowledge we had all the major shots done, me and the other camera op, Matt went into old town with our director Sean, to get some cutaway shots. Some of these shots looked ace and you should be seeing some of these very soon. beyond that it was more a matter of just chatting about how the week had been and how i would later get hold of the raw footage for myself.
And then yesterday…we said goodbye to the beautiful city of prague, we arrived in Coventry at 2pm and exhausted I called an end to the 6 days of shooting and exploring, Overall i felt the week was a successful week and I honestly learnt alot which I could use in other aspects of my profession particualry in the on-going short film module, including how to look after crew and actors and also the importance of making my voice heard as nobody is perfect and people do make mistakes.
-PICTURES TO BE UPLOADED-