Saturday, October 13, 2007

Journal, Term 4, Week 2

As you may notice, I did not post last week, as I did not attend university for the entire week as there was a death in the family. Though now that I am back I can continue this journal/blog.

On Friday (yesterday) the class lecture was quite short - though highly relevant as we received a perfect/correct explanation as to the chain of command, the hierarchy in television production. I payed extra attention when my four roles of our current assignment were read out. The lecturer posted all the notes on the forums which made it all easier to take in.

The practice run through in the studio was a mock cooking/news programme. I scored the role of DA (Directors Assistant) first up. Though I had a slight hick up as we started without a stop watch - an item I believe is essential to the DA's role in the control room. After obtaining a stop watch, all went well. I do not know what else to say on that run through, as everyone did a good job.

Next I was Sound Assistant to Jarrad - though I did not get to do really anything, as Jarrad leaned over to press all the 'play buttons' and volume controls. It was fine, though he did make my role some what redundant. My compliments to him on that front, though in saying that, it was a little disappointing to just sit there while he assumed total control. The radio mics were also playing up which made the job in the sound room somewhat difficult for both of us. I believe that the cables are fatigued, though I can not confirm this in any way as I did not get the opportunity to examine them myself.

After both sessions, the lecturer complimented the whole crew on a fine job done. He also stated that we should be fine for our up and coming 'kids show'. I had a rehersal as DA for show 2 that evening, while it did take a very long time to organise and get going, it was a total success, as our final run through went for 29mins 57seconds, right on the money!


Thursday, September 13, 2007

Term 3 Wrap

This term I have learnt much about the dealings of the industry - how the whole shebang is run and who is in charge. I always believed that upon entering the industry for the first time is nothing glorious as one starts at the bottom of the chain of command - as a gaffer or something low down like that. Though this does not worry me. Why you may ask? - Simple, as at the lowest stage it is always good to make contacts/networks. That is something I took in greatly this term. 'Making contacts/networks is one of the best things that can be done. You can learn of people who may get you some more work - more pay or even move you up in the 'barking order' of television.

One of the most interesting things this term was seeing a 'Jimmy Jib' crane in action. It was apparently only a 20" and that the company who work with them have sizes that can range up to 40" - that is truly a massive piece of hardware! Listening to the two men who operate and own a number of these Jimmy Jibs was most definitely worth my while as they were informative about the types of jobs they do, how they got into that field of work, and where it can take you. The most valuable thing I learnt from them was that it is better to work with or on something you have interest in with television rather than work on a project that you may loath and receive no satisfaction from doing so.

This leads me on to my next point. I have always enjoyed editing for both film design and television purposes, both as a hobby and potential profession in either industry. Though since learning the 'workings' of pro grammes on MACs such as 'Final Cut Pro', I am a little weary as to whether or not this is the field I want to end up in. I have generally edited in the mannerisms of film. That is with making 'Cuts' and most of the changes to a large amount of footage on the timeline - Final Cut however does not work in this manner. It is more based on 3 point editing. That is setting an 'IN' and a 'OUT' on the captured footage, and then applying it to the timeline with either an 'IN' point, or an 'OUT' point. This method is fine, and works well - to an extent, from my point of view, and from the way I have always edited footage.

The programs I am familiar with use a different method, while it is quite possible to use the 3 point editing system in Adobe Premiere Pro CS3, it works better (for me) to use my traditional 'Film' style of editing. This is done by having large chunks of footage on the timeline, on various levels and layers, to be edited with 'Cut' commands of the keyboard. I have learnt from people such as Seven Hogwood who has both directed and edited many commercials and short films over the years, that "true editing does not require any use of the mouse". I still believe this, though Final Cut encourages the mouse. I know this seems like a little bit of a rant here, but if you have worked on film, as an editor - you would understand my point of view, and hopefully agree with it. I use the example "loafers versus Laces". I am a Loafer.

I guess I will just have to get used to the limited view of television and that they are hell bent on sticking to their traditions of editing, directing and so on that I believe is holding Australia back in terms of TV production for broadcast. The USA believe we are around 20 years behind them, and after spending much of the end of last year over their, I agree with them. Perhaps we will catch up, perhaps my generation will 'change' the way in which television is produced in Australia. If not - then I really do not know what I am doing in University for. The derogatory view of PC is that they crash, stall, Freeze up, and can not run at the speeds of MAC are nothing more than that - old stupid clich├ęs that are really no longer applicable to the systems. Yes, if you purchase a stock standard PC from a supply chain such as 'Harvey Norman' or the likes, then there is no possible chance of keeping up with the production houses that MACs are. But if you are like me, and you do have a brain, and construct your PC like mine, and maintain it, then it is more than capable of keeping up with MACs in an industry sense.

Back to Adobe, I have recently attained a copy of the Creative Masters Suite CS3 which has every adobe product in it under the sun. The integration between these systems is by far, second to none. I have not found this yet with the Final Cut, Motion and Soundbooth programmes of the MAC thus far. Only more reason to take a second look at PC, rather than insult it without cause or correct knowledge of its workings.

That there is what I have learnt in the past few weeks this term. I can only hope that I will manage next term, as I will have to edit 3 commercials and most likely a whole lot more as I put 'Editor' as my main preference. Read over this carefully, try to understand my point of view, and how it is unfortunately the minority.


Sunday, September 2, 2007

Journal, Week Three

Friday was a pleasant change of place in the studio as the lecturers had devised a program that did not have scripted dialogue, camera movements or anything like that. First up, I was Vision Mixer (VM) which I have not done before. I was a little weary at first, but when we started running through the show I got right into it.

I am regretting not ranking the role more highly on our crew role choices, I prefer it to some of the other roles I will be doing. I followed the director, Mark with everything he said. On the second run through I made my own shot with a smooth cross dissolve from the 'Book' to the presenter Billy. I chose to do that as it looked much nicer than the plain cuts. Also because Billy had a green stripe shirt on which was similar to the green of the book - made sense for me to do it. Though I realised straight after I had done so, that I did not ask the director for permission to do so.

I need to learn things like that, as that is the way the TV world of Australia works. Mark was great, the 'talent' were fairly good, but the camera's were not. I hate to say it, but they all failed to remain in focus for more than two minutes, and were moving all over the place far too much. The lecturer made comment of this and corrected them appropriately.

Next, I was a cable basher. It all went to shit (excuse me) very early on. One of the camera's told me to put the cable over the camera so he would be able to make the move that the director wanted. I did so as it the camera operate has more authority on the floor than I. Then the director came in and told Nathan (fellow cable basher) and I to move another cable over a different camera. I was quick to tell my Floor Manager, Lauren that this was going to cause a problem, yet she ignored what I was saying, telling me to 'relax' and it will be fine. - Well it was not fine.

The camera's became tangled early on, and I was to blame - figures.

I preferred the first role run through as a vision mixer to the cable basher role. I did not like working on the floor on Friday, nothing went right - in my opinion.


Sunday, August 26, 2007

Journal, Week Two

Friday was one of my worst studio lessons ever. Entirely my fault, and it just didn't turn out to well. I was the interviewee for the final practice of Hullo Riverina.

I am very, very camera shy. I can't stand being in front of a video camera or in a photo. You could say it is my Akilies Hill, which is really quite strange as I have a strong passion for being behind the lens - almost ironic.

Anyway enough about me - I will critique the floor as a crew. Everyone I saw worked really well together, at least when it came to the record. Though the floor manager was not as good this week as she has been in the past. On multiple occasions, she did not communicate with the Telly Prompter at all. He did not know when to start or end the text scrolling. Yet he copped the criticism. The camera's were pretty good and stage seemed to be on top of things. Both Alex and Stewart were quite comfortable as presenters for the day. They kept the script together in my opinion.

Sound were fairly good, though it seemed to cut out a couple of times, and the opening/closing music went of too long and too loud. Aside from that, they did their job well. That is about all I can comment on. It was not as good as last week, but good none the less.


Saturday, August 18, 2007

Journal, Week One

Since TVP107 started this term, yesterday was the first fully operated studio since last term. I was assigned to DA (Director's Assistant) and we ran through Hullo Riverina to get us all back into the swing of things.

The first stagger through was a bit shaky, but all the terminology and structure all came back to be fairly quickly. Mark was our director and Markus was our Vision Mixer. As a control room we all worked very well with each other to coinside with audio (Jarrad & Kate) and tapes (Damian). Even though we had the 6 week break, we all performed outstandingly as a whole crew. The lecturers actually made comment stating that it was the best that we had ever done it. No one made a single mistake for the record. Thus we all were quite efficient and ended early.

The plus side was that we did not have to strike the studio today as another group was to come in straight after us. YAY!


Saturday, June 16, 2007

Assessment Week Four

What an assessment. I don't really know what to say other than - I screwed up royally.

Everything had gone fine for all the practice runs. I was on the ball and cuing the tapes at the appropriate moments. I was confident, and sure of a good result for the record. But I screwed up. I thought (after asking Pat) that I only press the record button on the blank tape and then do everything as per normal. Though I would learn the very hard way, that you must press play and record at the same time.

I had never operated the tapes before, let alone any equipment before where I had to press play at the same time as record. I guess, like a tape recorder. But all the camera equipment, editing software and so on has never required me to press play at the same time as record. So really, there was not a way for me to know any better.

Though that is not the principal, it is more the fact that it was my fault, and my fault alone that caused the entire program to to rune through again. Thus resulting in around 50mins in the studio longer. All the students were quite supportive and understanding, but I could tell that they were pissed off on the inside. But believe me, I was more angry with myself than anyone could possibly hope to be.

The lecturers/students tell me that marks are not everything and that I will never make the same mistake again. That I believe is true, but on the mark issue... well, I believe that marks are pretty much everything. I need to excel and not be the one to make mistakes of this proportion. Thus I am only looking at a credit for an overall result for my four weeks of assessments.

In my opinion, that is hopeless. I should be achieving up in the distinction territory. I am better than what I demonstrated on Friday. But because of one stupid mistake, I am not going to walk away from this simester with the marks I was asspiring to. I can't say that I am looking forward to next term at this stage. I am glad to be back at home right now where I can cool off for a while - literally.


Friday, June 8, 2007

Assessment Week Three

Easily my best assessment week yet. I was on the ball, paying full attention at all times and yet relaxed. I was assigned Camera One today (Cam1). I was a little weary at first, as I had not used one of the cameras since last term. Though I quickly settled back in and was able to do all that the director asked as well as create a style of my own.

Camera One is generally the hardest one of the three to operate as it has the most moves during the programme, and today was no acceptation. I had massive movements, and was generally fairly quick with it. Though, having said that, I was not perfect for the record. A new opening shot was devised and I was to follow it after two quick practices with it. A really quite massive tracking shot across the whole studio while being mindful of the speed of the presenter and all object around, while zooming in to a perfect frame MS (Mid Shot) is quite difficult to master in such short time. I ended up having two seconds of camera shadow on the presenter (James) face at the start of the record. Aside from that, all else went well.

Improvements for myself:

- Frame up better, to get the heads of people at the very top of the screen.
I personally like a little head room at the top of the shot, especially for the type of programme we were filming (channel 10 news style shots). Though I did my best to follow the director.

- be more creative, I was constantly looking for shots that the director may like, and for all the practice runs, I believe I had pretty good shots. Though for the record, the interview topic changed once again, thus giving me less to work with in potential shots.

The control room worked very well as a team, as I was able to easily understand what they were saying. Jake (DA) was quite good as he was on the ball and aided me to know exactly where everything was up to. Much can be said about Pete (FM), but Mim (AFM) was not as helpful. The cable bashers needed to be paying attention a little better, as I almost ran over a cable at one stage if it wasn’t for the FM.

Overall an enjoyable and valuable assessment as a whole.