HBTI trainees have been getting outside broadcast work experience with production company, Sunset + Vine at BT Sport SPFL matches across the country ahead of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.
Students from North East Scotland College, Napier University, Fife College, Glasgow Clyde College and City of Glasgow College, have been shadowing industry professionals in various production roles (camera, EVS operation and runner/production roles), getting invaluable hands on experience in a live outside broadcast environment.
As part of the HBTI work experience, I had the chance to experience the BT Sport live outside broadcast of Motherwell vs Celtic in December 2013. I felt like a member of the production crew when I received a call sheet via e-mail a few days before the match. It contained details of where and when I was required, everything planned, from arrival and parking, through to the estimated finish time. However, on the day it was just like a typical first day at work. Traffic slowed me down more than anticipated, the car park didn’t exist in my panicked world. Running late, I thought I would miss out on the whole placement, but when I got my BT Sport ID card, I felt like a part of the team again.
First things first, I, along with two other HBTI trainees were shown around the different camera positions, supplying water bottles along the way. Next we had a chance to see all the trucks involved, from the equipment store, to the actual OB truck. As the VT area was pretty cramped I was going to spend the first half of the match shadowing the sound engineers, at a desk with an endless amount of buttons and sliders. So far I could speak with everyone and ask questions they probably hear from every student, but now I had to shut up!!
The first 5-10 minutes were tense and required full concentration. As Celtic started to get the match under control the atmosphere relaxed a bit – at least in the sound department. I see the sound desk in action, hear the entire crew communicating, focus on the sound mixers hands, almost like playing the piano.
For the second half I sit between the producer and a logger in the middle of the gallery. I even get a glimpse over the shoulders of the director and the vision mixer. It feels weird to sit in the midst of the action not doing anything. The buzz of the crew gets you. You concentrate on what’s happening around you, following everyone’s words and moves, you start to sweat and you feel the same relief when the head quarters in London is in control of the channel output again.
After recording some interviews with coaches and players, de-rigging begins.
According to the call sheet I can go home. The director puts his jacket on and smiles at me: “You are going to do this next time!” I still feel lost since the buzz had suddenly stopped and I could only shrug my shoulders.
It was a brilliant experience, seeing the workflow from the ball on the pitch to the TV screen; and being able to speak to every member of the crew and get a helpful answer to my question. It was also a great opportunity to network. If only I had had the right answer ready for the director!!