Week 1 live show review

I was particularly proud of how our first live show went. As director of the show and editor of my VT team, I took a very leading role this week and believe that my hard work paid off.

This week my VT team was assigned e-sports. I found a story about a new e-sports play coming to London and took the initiative to contact the director to ask if he would be interested in being interviewed and providing us with some exclusive rehearsal footage. Despite being very enthusiastic about being involved, the show was not coming to London until 13th February and therefore would not be available to be filmed.

Luckily Sam provided me with a story about real sports team owners investing in e-sports. He sent me an article to read on the subject and using that, and some related articles I found myself, I put together a research document that I sent to my team.

Along with the research document, I also attached a plan of what we needed to film, who we needed to talk to, and how the PTC should be filmed. As part of my planning, I had contacted several e-sports bars to try and get a filming location. Only one bar, Meltdown in Angel, gave us permission to film on their premises so this was our agreed filming location.

As it had already been decided that I would be the editor for the week I left the role decisions to the rest of the group so no one ended up in a role they didn’t feel comfortable with for the first week. In the end, Olivia was the presenter, Elle VT editor, and James camera operator.

I had instructed my team that I needed the voice-overs and PTC scripted and sent to me by Friday. Because our VT allowed for very limited interview opportunities I also wanted to include some graphs as an additional visual. Therefore, I asked VT editor Elle to start doing some research into e-sports investment and begin thinking about graphs that could be made. In the end, I had to script the PTC and voice-overs as our presenter said she didn’t understand the story despite reading through the research I provided. As the editor, I made the executive decision that I would rather script the VT myself and use accurate information than risk producing an inaccurate and vague VT.

We filmed the whole VT on Saturday afternoon as soon as the bar opened as this was the only time we were all available. The filming went rather well although it was slightly rushed. Because it was mid-afternoon, and the bar had just opened for the day, there were not many people in attendance, and therefore our GV’s of the bar juxtaposed our voice over which stated that e-sports was a growing industry. Additionally, we found it difficult to approach people to do vox pops as the people who were in the bar were very intent on playing their games rather than speaking to us. This being said, we did manage to interview the bartender who was incredibly helpful and provided us with some very good information.

We managed to salvage a good amount of footage from the bar including several good e-sports related GV’s and an entertaining PTC that included a good filming sequence. I was disappointed with our final edit as, despite me expressing my want, there were no graphs added to provide an additional visual element. However, the VT was still entertaining and informative.

The day of the live show was incredibly stressful for me. As director, I had a lot of ideas about how I wanted the show to look, however, I am not the most confident when it comes to using the technical equipment which put additional stress on me. As well as this, not only were we showing VT’s on the show but we also had a guest, on the sofa reporter, and a live Skype call, which had never been attempted before.

The week leading up to the live show I had re-watched the past live shows to see how previous directors had set up cameras, lighting, etc. I then began to write down how I would like to present the show, starting with placing the cameras in different positions for interviews, moving the bulletins to in front of the production desk, and using the bulletins light for social media. A lot of my ideas were influenced by what Delina did while she was the director.

After the morning meeting where we discussed how the weeks filming went and what order the VT’s were to be played in, my first job was to sort out how the beginning interview would be filmed. This required me to liaise with several members of the team- presenters Elle and Saf, editor and chief Nicola, assistant director Charlie who was looking after the guest, and Pascal who was producing the piece. I had provided some plastic bottles and a bag for life for the interview which provided the piece with a visual aid. I knew that I wanted a close up of the bottles, however, had to speak to the presenters first to establish when they were going to ask a question specifically related to the plastic so I knew when to cut. Once this had been established then I needed to set up my cameras.

Setting up my cameras was arguably the most difficult part of the day. Camera 1, which is attached to the autocue, cannot be moved and therefore provides the staple shot of the presenters. There is then a camera for social media and a second camera attached to autocue for the bulletins. There is only one other camera spare other than these which can be manipulated for different shots.

Because we had two separate occasions where there would be additional people on the sofa I wanted to use a camera for a three-person wide angle and another for close-up’s. My original idea was to use camera 2 for the three-person wide shot and to use the social media camera for the close up’s. This would have meant not only moving the social media camera in-between VT’s but also having to adjust the height of it as well. After careful consideration, I realised that this was an unrealistic expectation to have of my floor manager, George, and therefore would have to think of an alternative method to get close-up’s. Sam suggested that I use the presenter’s camera for close-up’s. I could adjust the camera on the vision board after the presenters had introduced the guest to adjust it from a two-shot to a close-up, and then cut to camera 2 to adjust the shot back to a two-shot. I decided that this was the best method to use, and could also be used for the on-the-sofa presenter should I want to use it.

After setting up the sofa cameras my next task was to set up the social media and bulletins cameras. The bulletins camera was fairly easy to set up as I already knew that I wanted to change its position. The only issue I had with it was adjusting the height for it as I needed Delina, the bulletins presenter, for height reference. The social media set-up was slightly harder. I knew that I wanted to use the bulletins light to eliminate glare on the social media screen, however, this was a lot harder than I first expected it to be. I had to first move the light several times so that it wasn’t blocking the camera and was also no causing more glare. I then had to adjust the intensity of the light to ensure that it wasn’t causing a glare and was also not blinding the presenter. This took several different adjustments and a lot of trial and error. In the end, I managed to create an image that I wasn’t entirely happy with, but that was suitable for the show.

Once I had led the afternoon production meeting which outlined the running of the show I was eager to do a full rehearsal, complete with a stand-in guest. Annoyingly, the scripts were late to be printed so this delayed our rehearsal slightly. Once we began, the rehearsal was awful. It was the first time I had used the vision board fully to vision mix a full show and I was really struggling to both follow the script, cut on time, and adjust the cameras. The presenters were doing incredibly well at reading their script, and the VT’s ran smoothly, however, I felt like my role as director went horribly wrong. This did not give me much hope for the live show, however I still insisted on changing the angle of camera 1 for the interview.

I was incredibly nervous just before we went live, however, once I heard the JLDN intro music I found myself in full director mode, with my full attention focused on smoothly running the live show. Despite a couple of mistakes where I cut to VT’s too early, the show was very efficient. The close-up shots worked well, all the interviews ran smoothly, and luckily the skype call worked incredibly well.

Despite being stressful and sometimes frustrating, I was incredibly proud of how the live show went and believe that it is my greatest achievement to date.