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Thursday week 8 live show – VFX production*

Students will be required to submit a critical explication of a video or radio show (up to 1,000 words). This is your chance to reflect on the show and the quality of the content. Consider the show’s news values, style, aims and different broadcast platforms. You will need to choose one radio or YouTube show to analyse in detail. You should introduce the show and its audience, and describe the running order, story selection, style of coverage as well as evaluating the success or not of the content. What went well, what didn’t go so well and why do you think that was? You may also consider the constraints within which the journalist works. This may include reference to legal and ethical frameworks. You may also include details of what you contributed to the show in the role you took, describing your role, lessons learned about being a journalist, any feedback given and strategies for improvement. You can use your notebook logs to help you write this. Please include the date of broadcast and a link to the show.

Reflect on the show – Show was received well by tutors and third year students who came to watch. The quality of the show is definitely improving as the weeks go by but there is definitely room for huge improvements. Many of the VTs are still being filmed solely in or in the immediate area surrounding LSBU which is not representative of London. Some VTs are still missing vital components like expert interviews and vox pops. One of the great things about this show in particular however was the team’s response to breaking stories throughout the day. There was a lot of news surrounding Brexit breaking throughout the day so a team went out to get footage outside Westminster and people’s opinion just before we went live which meant our show had relevant and current stories. Plan B VTs were also on the ready incase we weren’t able to get that coverage on time and we were flexible as to what we would change or leave out in order to be able to provide this unfolding/breaking news story. There was a number of audio faults throughout the show; at 2:48 you can hear someone above the VT saying “can you hear me” in the newsroom and at 16:35, above another VT, you can hear someone whispering. Some of the VTs had poor audio too where the background noise of cars overpowered the piece to camera sound. The live interview was a great addition to the show and the person being interviewed was well spoken and definitely added a great touch to the topic being discussed. In the actual studio the floor manager made sure he was comfortable and it all ran smoothly which was great. The only criticism I have is that he came out in a VT just before his interview and then for the interview in the exact same spot with the powerful red background which is noticeable. The show on the whole had a great mix of important, bigger new stories on Brexit and finances which is great as it is a news programme but also softer, more enjoyable stories such as the Christmas toys which was colourful and festive (even though it has a good news angle too) and the wrap-up story which means the targeted audience which are students are less likely to switch off and more likely to remain tuned in. The presenters started off quite serious and looked almost even a little bit terrified but as the show went on they loosened up a lot more and began joking and ad-libing more naturally and communicating with each other better. Social media bulletin was great, Oscar looked confident and relaxed and you can tell he knew what he was talking about. Only criticism is the lighting as he was stood practically in darkness and so were the presenters at times. One VT in particular, the student rent one, definitely decreased the quality and professionalism of our show quite dramatically. The mock interview was ethically wrong and journalistically really terrible. The visuals and audio was very poor too and there was no vox pops. 

Show and its audience – The target audience for the show is London students and as I mentioned above, the mix of important news stories and then softer more enjoyable stories is definitely a great way to keep them tuned in. Most VTs were considerate of students by taking on an angle that was relevant to the audience. Our Christmas Toys VT for example, the news peg was the fact that event was taking place that week and Christmas is approaching, however, the angle we took to make it relevant was financing Christmas as students and asking whether manufacturers are considerate of low-budget students when pricing and making their toys. 

Running order – The only thing I would change about the running order is that the VT finished off with a bigger news story which is student rent and I think maybe the wrap-up would have been more appropriate given its positive message and more upbeat happier vibe. The show starts off with a huge breaking news story which is the Brexit VT which is super serious and then it get all lighthearted straight up with the charity wrap-up VT and the serious all over again with the student spending. 

Story selection – The stories selected were relevant and responsive to the events taking place throughout that news day. Most had a student related angle. 

Style of coverage – ?

Legal and ethical frameworks – The VT on student rent was not considerate of legal and ethical frameworks. [Read into these frameworks and talk about why it was wrong in more depth]

My contribution and role – For this week’s show I was VFX producer and my role was to put all the videos into Dropbox and then move them onto the system for the live show. I was also in charge of creating and editing the opening and closing using Adobe After Effects. Throughout the show I had to prepare the videos and images to release at the appropriate time and after I had to put it on the server. The week prior to this which was meant to be my first week on VFX the show did not go live because of technical difficulties which meant I wasn’t able to do a run through and practice shot in my role. This meant I felt a lot more pressure the following week to make sure I got it right first time. I contacted Steph from LSBU production before the live show day to meet with her so she could help with the introduction and credits as I was finding it difficult to locate the files the week earlier and the previous VFX producer didn’t provide much help as to where she found them and instead told me to create them from scratch all over again. After meeting her I felt confident in my role and was happy at the end of the live show with how I performed. 

Lessons learned – Throughout the live show at the start I felt myself getting affected by how stressed the other producers were. I knew my job and was confident with what I was supposed to do. Their stress was making them carry out a number of errors and they were letting things out on me for no reason. For example, the director asked me to bring up the rent VT when it was supposed to be the wrap-up VT and then she told me off for putting the rent VT as it was supposed to be the other but I was listening closely to her instructions because she told me there might be a change so there wasn’t any reason for me to get told off about this. After I realised that the stress was affecting my performance in the run-through and affecting my mood I decided I would take a few steps back and just focus on my own role and not let their emotions get in the way of my work. 

Feedback and strategies for improvement – As mentioned above I think some of the VT groups should make a greater effort to go out of their way and choose more vibrant and interesting filming locations outside LSBU. There needs to be a level of professionalism that is on par with a real life news room and so unethical and unprofessional VT packages such as the one where they produced a mockup interview cannot happen again. 

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