DAY FOURTEEN – Bet Racing Nation – 21st December 2013

Today was the last show for Christmas, and the last of my work experience, and hte team was in good spirits, the panel to wear Christmas hats during the show.

It was a lot more relaxed because the studio was set up from Thursday show, as the other programmes had finished for Christmas now. This made it a lot easier and less stressful, which is as it should be every week so we can focus on getting better shots, or planning the shows content.

Today, the show was going to be busy, with three phone calls, to the usual Catherine, but also two people from Ireland. This immediately caused slight problems, as the studio phone doesn’t call to Ireland, only British numbers. I tried one of the numbers on the phone, and it connected, but the person didn’t pick up, so we were under the illusion that it was going to work. During the show, I rang back, and found the problem. I then thought we could Skype them, but one of the persons Skype wasn’t working, so I called their phone from our Skype account, and had to get Harriman help to connect the Skype feed to the studio speakers, which did eventually work.

Jon Produced the first half of the show, then I took over for the second half, but even though it gave me more time to prepare -which I had- I still found it harder to pick it up when somebody else had already been in charge, especially as my first part was cramed full of content and a Skype call.

Maria made a very small mistake (that didn’t effect the quality of the show) and G started teaching her how to not do that again, but it was during the show, so Jon asked them to focus and discuss it in the break, and he hadn’t changed shot for nearly 30 seconds now, leaving it on a wide, as he wasn’t concentrating. G replied saying that when he is teaching Maria, he doesn’t want to be interrupted again. This was out of line, and again shows G’s ego, which is a constant problem within the team, making it hard to lead the team.

After the show, Pete spoke to the entire team, thanking them for their efforts, and not working for anything more than expenses so far. He said how we have definite sponsors to come, and other general thanks. He mentioned to me about sorting my travel expenses, the receipts I already have ready.

Speaking to Jon after drinks, he said how BT are interested in the show, so there are possibilities of moving over to their company and their production team, and perhaps I could go with them, but I would be a runner, not Junior Producer. This gives reason to stay on as their are future opportunities, and although I may drop down to a runner, it is a much larger company where I can move up and have experience with working in a more professional environment.

DAY THIRTEEN – Bet Racing Nation – 19th December 2013

Today we had to film a recorded show, to be aired next week during the Christmas break. We ran it exactly asa live show, with me counting down and doing talk-back, scheduling for breaks, so that the show would have the correct section timings.

In between each part, I did a 1 minute break, so that the team had to time reset themselves and I could talk to Pete if needed.

For the live show, Jon didn’t make it in, so I had to Produce it again, with John McCririck in again. He was late, but in a much better mood, and the show went well, with good discussion. The team worked well, with G Vision Mixing (usually graphics), and Maria on graphics (usually editor). both did their job well, with little/no mistakes, and communicated well between themselves.

The only problem was with the transmission signal, but this was something downstairs had to sort, so Harriman rang down and they rebooted, anf the signal online restored itself. The problems occurred due to weather, and we weren’t to know,, but Luke was watching the live stream next door and told us it was slow and kept freezing.

Ally went in to the studio when all of the talent were seated, about 15 minutes before we went live to put CTO on a light, but was slow and McCririck didn’t look overly impressed, especially as Ally didn’t seem to know how to peg the CTO up there. I tried to hurry him, but he wouldn’t get don until he had finished. During the show I took Ally to the side and told him his behaviour was bad as the talent was there, and asked that in future if he wants to make last minute alterations, to please ask me or Jon first, or if he knows there is a problem, voice it earlier, and not at the last minute because nobody has one it yet. Everybody seems to wait for others to do the work, and will only have an opinion if its done wrong, or too late, rather than al pitching in at the beginning.

10 minutes before the live show, Harriman created a problem on the computer for G and Maria to fix, so that they could learn. However, we were close to going live and hadn’t done a rehearsal yet, due to G and Maria being slightly slower than Attila. I asked Harriman to fix it, but he said only G and Maria could say, not me, in a rude manner. Ally, thankfully, stepped in, saying its inappropriate and to just sort it. A lesson is good but not when we are about to start, ad G and Maria should have said this immediately. This just shows the struggle with the team acting professional, and the problem with Harriman being rude and acting ‘above’ us.

I feel unsure I I’d like to return as I don’t feel respected at all by some of the crew, and it is a battle to get them to work quicker or get a response from them, such as when I’m asking how long until they are ready, etc.  I have never received a Call sheet, so I don’t know who is coming in, and if they are late, I have no means to contact them, which could result in somebody just not turning up one day.

Atilla thinks the show needs a Director as Jon doesn’t understand technical or creative things, but I disagree, as the quality of the shoe is low anyway, and it is seemingly not allowed to be improved, with Fiona always declining requests or suggestions.

DAY TWELVE – Bet Racing Nation – 14th December 2013

Today, because the cricket show was running late, we weren’t going to get access to the studio until 10:30, going live at 11:00. Because of the short time to sset up, Pete and John had arranged to play a 30 minute VT to give us enough time to set up the studio and cameras.

Because of the time changes, John was going to produce mainly today, with me helping and taking a turn during the easier parts, so I was still having a go. Ally was on the AirBox controlling the adverts, but because I knew he was a bit lazy to say the truth, I check the programme running time on the AirBox, and noticed that we were going live at 11:30, instead of our planned time of 11:00.

This is because Harriman thought it would be better for us to have more time to set up, but he didn’t tell Pete or John, so they hadn’t schedule. I shared this information, and it stressed John out as our running order now wouldn’t make sense, and we’d have to tell our callers that we would speak to them at a different time, or not at all.

Pete, John and myself all sat down and worked out an updated running order, taking out the 30 minute VT and cutting a whole section.

I had to then go back to the AirBox and delete two extra parts and ad breaks, which Harriman had inserted in case we wanted ore sections or ran over.

This meant the show was now only one hour and a half, instead of two, meaning there would be less content, and we would skim over sections.

Otherwise, the show ran well, expect there were slight sound issues, with feedback humming, but that was due to faulty transmitters and receivers, not because of Harry.

Today it was made clear that we could function without Harriman present, and that we could work faster; with Attilla leading the set up, and finishing in half an hour, rather than the usual 1 ½ .

DAY ELEVEN – Bet Racing Nation – 12th December 2013

Today I produced the show again. I arrive at 5pm, but there was none of the productions team were there, except Harriman, who asked us to act like he wasn’t there, as he wanted us to prepare for next week when he wouldn’t be here.

As there was nobody else to help me set up, I went through the running order and prepared myself.

John McCririck was in again today, but wasn’t in great spirits, so it really brought down the moral of the panel, and they sat in silence until the show started. As a professional, he was normal when on screen, but it still wasn’t as interesting or lively as last week.

There were three large mistakes today:

  • Attila (VM) pressed the wrong button and brought up the bumper during the show for about 10 seconds whilst they were talking.
  • Harry (new sound guy) ran out the room to check the audio on the interest stream, but it was just before the break, so during the bumper you could hear the panel chatting, so I had to quickly lean over and mute them.
  • Then G (graphics) started teaching Maria (editor) how to do the live graphics, and she accidentally started playing a VT during the show.

To me, these mistake were unforgivable, especially during a live show, but it seemed to be ‘just mistakes’ to everybody else.

When I went in to talk to Pete during a break, he mentioned that somebody had tweeted about the sound mistake. I didn’t want to discuss it in front of the talent, so brushed over it, saying it was OK, but then Harry walked in and asked, and said the mistake. I tried to play it down as I didn’t want to admit our mistakes in front of Geoff Banks and John McCririck, who may not come back if they think the show doesn’t look good enough

I feel as though I cannot say anything about peoples behaviours or actions as I am young and new and it would seem patronising. I asked john to talk to G, to either not teach during a show or to let us know and his response was arrogant; suggesting that she didn’t make any mistakes, and didn’t apologise.

John took me to the side after the show and told me I handled things well, but I have to treat every team member differently, to cater to their behaviours and keep them happy. He also said that when things go wrong to just revert to basics and get it done, because if you panic more is likely to go wrong. He said even if there are problems we have to be careful, because without some people there wouldn’t be a show.

It just seems that we are stepping on eggshells at every corner in the production, and there is always a problems, that we are not allowed to fix.

It is frustrating leading a team where nobody knows what they are doing, or cares.

Harriman works for Sports Tonight, not BRN (Bet Racing Nation), and knows our team pays less for the space than other people, so feels he has the right to treat people differently.

On Saturday we are to come in late, because the cricket is going to run late, so we were told to leave the set up, except for the lights. On the way out, Harriman called Ed and Max (Greenwich interns) and shouted at them, asking who said they could leave the set like that. They handled the situation very well; didn’t name drop and apologised. But then Pete came in (who told them to leave it) pretending to not know they had left it a mess.

I felt it cowardly of Pete to let Ed and Max to take the fall, but then again, if Pete were to take the blame, Harriman may think Pete not capable, and complain to ST, which is worse than two interns making a mistake. There are so many politics in this tiny production.

It is hard to find motivation to stay professional or even turn up on time when no one else does. I do not  normally think that way, but this team does sometimes feel a bit of a joke, and I am unsure on if I would want to return after my placement, even though John has asked me to.

It would be a shame to throw away all that I have learned and to build on it further, but it is too much of a burden.

However, there is opportunity to improve the production, so maybe I need to focus my efforts on that, and turn it into my own project, so that I can benefit from it.

The mistakes during the show reflect poorly on me, despite me having no control as they happened so quickly. For me, it is hard to work with people who don’t know what they are doing, but also during al vie show, as I am used to being bale to say cut and reset.

DAY TEN – Bet Racing Nation – 8th December 2013

Today we had a crash coure on every thing in the sudio; from setting up the computers, to sound, to what we are and aren’t allow to do in the studio.

This lesson was for me, and Harriman wasn’t going to be here next week so wants me to control the adverts,as he taught me, but also for the rest of the team, so we could do everything he does between us.

 

Ally didn’t look over enthusiastic to be having this lesson, but it seemed because he thinks he knows it all already, but I have seen he doesn’t. I just focused on wht I was being taught, and appreciated Harriman taking time out of his day to teach us, rather than feeling patronised, as others seemed to.

 

My notes:

 

Set Up:

  • Check TriCaster is on.
  • Check Capture Box is on.
  • AirBox (computer) is always on.
  • TriCaster –‘X Robot’ = our account.
  • Turn Sony control on, back left.
  • Tricaster – select ‘Sports Tonight CU’
  • Sony camera controller – click “power” to reboot and see if all cameras in the studio are responding and working properly. It is good to always reboot the mat the beginning of the day to make sure they are all working.

 

Computers:

 

  • Check DDR1 (Digital Device Recorder) on computer.
  • Compuer password – L0gm31n!
  • Click CaptureBox programmes
  • In programmes date area, check if correct.
  • Make sure the “padlock” icon is RED, not black, as it syncs the changes made to the programme.
  • Change  title (caps) to BETRACINGNATION_P1 (part 1) – when you stop capture at each break it will automatically change the last number, which will correspond to the programme section )part 1, part 2, etc).

 

Sound:

  • We are responsible for sound- mixer ‘on’ switch at the back right.
  • Mixer – yellow dials ‘floor speakers’, will already be turned on from the previous production, so need to turn them all OFF, to stop feedback for the panel when on air.
  • TBU (Talk Back Unit) 1 and 2 to be turned on during phone calls so the panel can hear the caller.
  • Mixer – far right dial to be turned on, it’s the final sound output. ‘Final’.

 

  • Sennheiser true diversity receiver:
  • Silver plugs our, black plugs belong to the Cricket team.
  • All plugs are labelled, o plug into the matching port.
  • Plugs 5 and 6 for us are BLACK
  • Receiver – turn on, then check mics.
  • Match the frequency on the mic to the number on the receiver box.
  • Speaker floor cables go into ports 3 and 4.
  • Talk back is the silver box (2nd down).
  • Test sound no later than 45 minutes prior to start of live show.

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TVs:

  • Mini converter SD1 to analogue. Connects TriCaster to the pre selected TV monitor.
  • Wires – composite = sound
  • HDMI = image and no sound

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Phone:

  • Pick up, dial number
  • When connected, say hello and say to put on hold
  • Dial R, and the extension 263
  • The red buttom below the output TV will flash red. When red becomes solid, you can put the phone down.
  • They are now connected.
  • Turn their sound up or down.
  • When finished, turn red button off on the SonyFEX.

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PatchPanel (micro video hub):

  • Has 16 inputs and 16 outputs
  • Inputs = orange = source
  • Outputs = blue = display
  • Don’t touch the AB (AirBox) button.
  • VM out – shows the programme out.
  • TV in studio= ST Wallbox.
  • Button 7 should have the horse racing on (on xbox box in the View Sonic Screen).
  • At The Racing – channel 415.
  • Racing UK – channel …
  • The horse racing channels should be o TX5 or TX6.

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After this lesson, Jon told me he was leaving early today, and I would be producing the show. This honestly came as a shock, to say the least. I didn’t know if I was ready, and felt a bit overloaded from this morning’s lesson. I told them I would give it a go, but if I made any large mistakes, that I wasn’t to be held responsible. They knew this, and said they trusted me, and wanted to give me the chance.

I was supposed to be assisting Ally, with me just doing the talk back, but I thought I’d find it hard keeping tracks of the times.

During the show I started off as little nervous, but Jon hung around. He asked if I wanted him to start, then me take over when he left, but I asked if I could start, with him watching and helping, so I could get used to it.

He took me aside and said he trusted me, that I need to stay calm, that I need to be clear, and that if I make a mistake, don’t panic, just communicate with the team, and tell Pete (via talk back). He said if I messed up with times, not to worry, its better I be 10 seconds off, rather than getting stressed, as I’d make more mistakes.

As it turned out, I did the entire show, with Ally not helping at all. I asked him to control the AirBox and click the ads, but didn’t even know how tot do it, even though he said he could, meaning we had a slight delay on the ads, and also couldn’t keep up with telling me how long we had left during the breaks until the shows was back live. Ally also tried to tell me what to tell Pete, but wasn’t reading the running order correct, and the VT he warned me of wasn’t going to play until the next hour, which messed me up. Not wanting to rant, I found his presence unhelpful and unnecessary, and unprofessional, as after a while he started to watch the football and call out. The pint is; that even though when I first started there he acted like he knew everything, he didn’t, and I should watch and judge people first, and not just take their word

Craig (sound), also helped me with Twitter, as Tommy (twitter corner on the show) had to leave early. Craig and I would read though the tweets off on Petes phone, and I would then feed them into his ear when he was off air. I did this well, not interrupting when he was talking or needing to listen to the others, especially as we never had to do this on the show before.

Another issue we had to sort was the running order, as there hadn’t been an ad break slotted in in between part 5 and 6. This had to be sorted, as it meant the show would have run for 28 minutes, but by broadcast standards and section cant run longer than 20 minutes without a break; which Harriman told me. During the 4-5 ad break, I told Pete this, and that his next section would be shorter, then I rearranged the times, adding appropriate time for a break, then working out how much time would be in part 6. We sorted this issue well.

Things I found difficult and messed up on where the race cards – the selections each member makes that have been made into a graphic that is shown on screen when they discuss them. I made mistakes because I found it hard concentration on time, the ad breaks, what others were doing and the content of the show. Also, I am not overly familiar with horse racing, so am not entirely sure what they have to talk about, or if they are discussing something interesting or I need to prompt Pete to move on. But I should hopefully pick this up in time, and as I pay more attention to the show.

G helped a lot, as he knew when they were talking about what, so could cue the cards and races for the ones they were discussing.

I think I did pretty well, especially as I had no training and it was live for 2 hours, a very quick 2 hours!

During the breaks I would go and talk to Pete, let him know any changes, any issues, and ask what he needed of me to be clearer or to help him more, such as talk louder into the mics, when he wanted to bring a caller in earlier than planned, or if there was something he no longer wished to discuss.

I enjoyed the role, but need to learn to stay calm, and just become more aware of the content, and other peoples roles, so I could give them enough time to do it and not cut them off or rush them.

DAY NINE – Bet Racing Nation – 5th December 2013

Last night when I arrived at the show, we set straight to work, as Jon wasn’t going to be able to arrive until 7pm, due to other work, with the show going live at 8pm.

Ed from university was here to help again, and was already setting up, by attaching the new posters to the set, for the background, which really help break up the large mass of green. Bablu also arrived to help today, and was really involved and easy to work with.

We set up again, and there were more lights, so it was easier and looked better today. We kept getting told off by Harriman for touching or moving things, yet were doing nothing different to which we have been shown before, by Jon or another member of the team. This shows how their communication is still not very strong, with nobody sharing information which they have received from Fiona (the Sports Tonight studio organiser) to others.

Harriman showed me how to cue the live stream and adverts today again, with me actually doing it, to get a better feel. The job isn’t too easy, but you have to keep on top of it. The main part for this role is during the breaks, and communicating how long there is until the show is back live. The programme runs automatically, because the times are already set p by Harriman, but you have to select the first ad break after each part. This is because he will set each live section to be longer than scheduled, just in case they go over. I was also showed how to add another live feed, just in case something goes wrong, and also how to deleted a live feed. I feel confident with teh system.

Harriman told me that in 3 shows time, he will not be here, so I will have to do the role. I do not feel there will be any problems, and he offered to be connected by TeamViewer (a remote access software) to help out and keep an eye on it.

During the show, I often asked Ed to go and check the live stream on the internet, to see if the show was airing properly, as we had an issue with it a previous week, and didn’t want an occurrance, especially as it was a big night.

Last night, John McCririck and Geoff Banks were on the show, so there was a lot more to sort out, with the team needing to be top of their game. With them came a small almost entourage, meaning the studio was busier, and they allowed them teas and coffees in the gallery. They were all friendly and dind’t get in the way, but they were constantly chatting during the sow, making ti harder to concentrate.

The show ran smoother than ever, with no problems, with clear sounds and better quality lighting. the content was a lot more interesting too, with John McCririck and Geoff Banks being lively characters. Billy Blakeman, the resident member, was quieter, as not such a large personality, but Jon would prompt Pete (host) to not concentrate too much on Billy, because the viewers were not there for him.

After the show, Jon mentioned that he felt Billy seemed a little bit of a third wheel, but Pete and tom (twitter corner, frequent member) that he seemed and looked OK, and that it was good exposure for him, which i agreed with.

Everybody was a lot more optimistic and happy with the show, with there being a lot of Twitter feedback.

I feel the team is still really developing, and in need of more skill. It seems to take a long time to get anything done, as either no one knows were anything is, or they don’t know what they can do or move, or how to technically sort things, which can be a little stressful. This does give opportunity to experiment and learn lighting or other roles myself, but it would be better if there were more experienced and knowledgeable people there. Such as the sound guy, who used to go to Greenwich: he arrived over an hour late, then just sat down, waiting to be told what to do, despite knowing, and knowing we are in a rush. he kept needing telling to do things, as he was slow, and when he was altering the slip mics on the guests, he didn’t ask then touch them; he would just walk over and grab the clip mics, which all seemed a little unprofessional and intruding.

I seem to be fitting in well, being able to take on more responsibility, and with more influence among others.

Photo by Jon Gale

Photo by Jon Gale

Tutorial Meeting – 2nd December 2013

Today I had a meeting with my tutor, Val Brown, and updated her on my Industry Work Practice progress, and the studio.

I informed her of my concerns about the teams expectations of me, and how they have asked me to Produce (of sorts) on Thursday when John McCririck is in, and they amount of days work they want of me, and also the health and saftey

I spoke of the image clearance issue, and how I stressed to Jon that I wasn’t to be held responsible if they don’t reference them properly, to which Val replied that I should be OK, especially as I am work experience and not a paid intern.

Val agreed that this placement has its positives and negatives; with me being hands on and learning a lot, even having actual credits (such as doing sound) to put on my C.V, but also that I need to stay aware that I have my work to do and ensure I am not being exploited.

Val offered to send an email to Jon, reminding him of my student status, and that I am aiming for only 15 days, and if they wish to have me after tha, I need to be paid and this should be organised with me separately.