How I learnt to produce and broadcast during a leadership training day

Posted in: Department of Mechanical Engineering, msc

Author: Jasper Farren

Students mostly comprised of the Engineering Business Management (EBM) and Innovation Technology Management (ITM) Postgraduate courses recently took part on in Newsday, an advanced leadership training course, run by VisionWorks and organised by the Directors of Study Peter Mott and Debbie Janson. The goal of the day was to produce and broadcast a twenty-five-minute news transmission, entirely developed by the students. Seasoned BBC broadcasters Chris Vacher and Alex Lovell oversaw the running of the day, offering their limitless knowledge on news broadcasting. Apart from some inevitable mishaps during the broadcast, event was a great success, and hopefully something that will be continued over the coming years.

I went into the preliminary briefing the night before the Newsday exercise expecting to nominate myself as a camera man or a producer for the features team. However, at the resounding silence as the executive team roles were decided, I found myself nominated as the director for the entire show. The executive team was made up of the producer, assistant producer, and director. The producers had to deal with the script and features of the show. The director’s role was to ensure the smooth broadcast of the show and run the gallery team and studio. No pressure then.

The day began with a group meeting, which featured an initial briefing by the executive team to the rest of the production crew, before Chris and Alex gave a run though of the day. The morning began with the gallery team- me, the vision mixer, timing controller, sound engineer and floor manager- getting trained on all the equipment, before running through with mock rehearsals of a preprepared script. Under the expert guidance of Chris Vacher, we went from a disorganised collective to a (relatively) well-oiled team who could mix cameras, video, and sound during a live broadcast. Whilst we were practising the broadcast, the producers were sending location crews off to film various fictitious or factual shoots, including a vox pop on the bus network up to the University and a feature on the various states of cleanliness at the student accommodation.

The afternoon saw a rush to finish scripts and edit the transmissions for the marketing transmission for the evening show. Whilst all had been going relatively smoothly up until this point, the broadcast looked to be in jeopardy when the scripts had not been printed by 5:15pm, fifteen minutes before the programme transmission. Five minutes before broadcast, I received a script, and scrambling to brief the set-crew of the first minutes of transmission, we went live. With some miracle, and a couple of questionable camera shots, the programme was a success. The work put in by everyone was exceptional, and the quality of the production of the video features was evident.

Whilst the day was hectic and stressful, it was an incredibly valuable experience to all those involved and showed how a team could come together in short notice and work to produce a great end product. On behalf of all that participated, I would encourage any who get the opportunity to try Newsday, as you’ll almost certainly learn something about yourself.

Posted in: Department of Mechanical Engineering, msc


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