Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Production Diary- Assessment Day

On our assessment day we began by unloading the van, which had all our equipment in it because we were filming in Manchester the day before. After we bought the equipment upstairs we started setting up the cameras, microphones, vision and audio mixers. It didn't take us long to set up but we had a big problem with one of the cameras as we could not get the picture up on the tricaster. After last weeks confusion on which group was going to film when we decided that we would go second because we had our VT ready and we were confident that we could shoot our programme. At first we thought it was the camera because it had a composite cable port which didn't work. So after we failed trying to move around the cable in the camera to get the picture up we decided to change the composite cable to another one. This, however, still didn't fix our issue and we were beginning to think that we wouldn't be able to use one of the cameras. As a last resort we decided to use a Sony V1 camera instead of the Panasonic P2 and that didn't work for us either and still couldn't get any image on the tricaster. So we decided that we would only use two cameras for our shows which would be very hard on the camera operators.

On the first programme I was one of the camera operators so I had to be ready to work more than I should because both of us had to change our shots whenever we weren't filming to try and make it look like there was more than two cameras. After we had set up all the other equipment we decided to go through one practice shot before we began streaming it online because we needed to know what we were doing on the cameras. Before we started doing the first take the director came out of the gallery to explain to me and the other camera operator what he was looking for and also how we had to tackle the issue of only having two cameras to work with. When we started filming we had to change shots very quickly when we weren't live. Every time I knew I wasn't live I started offering the director different shots and kept on switching from wide shots, to mid-shots and close-ups. Overall I think the director was pleased with our work and although at times I did offer shots I also did what the director asked for.

After the first group had finished we were all told to go on a dinner break but I decided to stay behind and fix the problem with the cameras. After trying different methods such as switching the camera to the middle preview monitor on the tricaster we decided that instead of using a composite connection we would go with the component cable. We began by changing the composite cable and replacing it with the red, blue and green connecters but we still used a composite cable to go into the tricaster. Even with this change over nothing was working so we tried the same thing with the Sony V1 and it still didn't work. What we had to do to ensure that we could use the third camera was use a component cable running from the camera straight into the front of the tricaster. So before I went on my dinner break I set up the camera and had the component cable running from the studio to the tricaster which was tricky because the component cable wire is a lot thicker than the composite cable and its purple which made it hard to hide during the shoot, but we managed it.

When I came back from lunch I found out that the camera was once again not working and we were ready to start filming. I checked the connection again and I got some picture on the tricaster but the colour was black and white. After I changed over a few of the cables in the camera and tricaster I finally got it working again and we were ready to film. I began my job as the floor manager by getting everyone on set and ready to film. I also had set up the microphones on the presenter and guests as well as we didn't have a sound operator at the time because he wasn't in. I asked one of the other students to fill in for our group, then we were ready to shoot. We didn't get the chance to rehearse last week so we took this opportunity to get a few practice shots before we began filming. I made sure we practiced as quick as possible because there were another three groups to film their programmes after us.

After two practice takes we decided it was time to start recording our live show. My job was to make sure everyone knew what they were doing and also to ensure that no one else apart from the production team, the presenter and the guest were on the studio floor. I also had to cue in the guest because we were going to have him walk into shot instead of him sitting there with the presenter. We were suppose to have two guests including one of the music students but they decided not to take part in our programmes. During the shoot I had problems with my talkback and I couldn't hear the director (Ashley) so I had to ask the camera operators when we were playing the VT so I knew when to cue the presenter back in and also I had to cue in the guest. Our show lasted around 5 minutes and I think there was still some confusion with our presenter as she wasn't sure when we were playing VT.

Overall I think our programmes was done very well and it went smoothly. After a difficult patch with the camera I think we recovered well and although we needed a couple of practice shoots they were helpful towards the end product as they covered some confusion. I think we all did well on our job roles and worked very well as a team. It was very good experience for me as I did several things from setting up, to problem solving and I always enjoy being the floor manager on shoots.

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