As part of my television module I produced a magazine style programme with VT inserts for a Birmingham based student audience. The programme, known as ‘Broadstreet’ featured fashion and lifestyle content where I took an active role in both presenting and producing features within the show. However, my main role within this production was producer for the digital media team where I produced the spin off show, known as ‘Behind Broadstreet’ and created its website.
Hidden Treasures is a weekly feature within the programme which reveals Birmingham’s hidden, forgotten or unknown. If it is worth telling about we share it! This week we visited a shop located in The Great Western Arcade known as, ‘More Than Vintage’ to see why they were classed as a ‘Hidden Treasure’.
As producer of the digital media team I was primarily responsible for the content of the spin-off show, “Behind Broadstreet”. This meant that I was heavily involved in the pre-production process of the programme as I liaised with members of my team making sure that all digital media elements of the main VT’s shared a humorous tone. This therefore ensured continuity of the content broadcasted on “Behind Broadstreet” and through the “Behind Broadstreet” website. After deciding that humorous outtakes of the main programme would be suitable content to feature on “Behind Broadstreet,” I produced a plan of the programme, with ideas for potential features within the show and other digital media considerations. This plan enabled the team to clearly understand what digital media elements we intended to produce, whilst ensuring all team members were aware of their role and what tasks were needed to fulfill these roles.
As I was responsible for creating the script for the show I made sure that it maintained humour and a sense of ‘behind-scenes gossip’ and audience interaction, which programmes such as ‘The Xtra Factor’ produce. Watching these shows helped me produce a script which gave ‘Behind Broadstreet’ a live feel, whilst incorporating social media elements as a way of interacting with our audience. In order for the programme to run as scheduled I made sure that the script and running order had appropriate timings on them for the PA.
As social media was a vital element within the digital media team I made sure that we had allocated roles for monitoring our social media content, including Twitter, Facebook and Youtube, uploading images, promoting the programme and interacting with our audience. I created the “Behind Broadstreet” website which was primarily for the spin-off programme which ran alongside the “Broadstreet” website. I produced the website and all the content featured on the site, writing regular posts to update the audience and also gathering the digital media VT’s created by the group to upload onto the site. In order to produce this content I was present at all rehearsals of the main show where I filmed behind the scenes footage of the team and also filmed extra footage of the jazz band rehearsals. By doing this I was able to capture the band playing more contemporary songs which would be of interest to our audience. As this was not captured for the main show, this extra footage provided the ‘Behind Broadstreet’ website with original and exciting digital media content, offering our audience new ways to engage with our programme through online platforms.
As well as being producer I also carried out pre-production work for the main programme as I presented the group with the idea of featuring a segment of the show which looked at ‘hidden treasures’ within Birmingham. I become a part of the hidden treasures VT team, both presenting for the VT and editing it. As a presenter I created my own script, incorporating research I conducted about the shop which became useful during my interview with the shop assistant, enabling me to ask appropriate questions whilst maintaining a sense of professionalism. However, during the interview there were moments in which I stumbled over questions, failing to remember precisely what I wanted to ask. As the VT was pre-recorded, this could have been avoided by filming another take, although this was something that was only realised during editing where composition and camerawork could have been enhanced. In hindsight, I would have filmed more than one take and replayed the footage to make sure that focus, stability, aperture, vertical line and colour were correct, in order to make sure that the shots comply with the basic rules of television production.
As producer of the digital media team I utilised the opportunity of being at the location shoot to aid the director on what content would be useful for ‘Behind Broadstreet’. I therefore produced a draft of potential ideas for the director to film. However, filming was limited due to a technical issue with the camera which meant both digital media and the VT team had to share cameras, which impacted on the amount of time and filming which took place. In future, I intend to check that all cameras are working before arriving on location to avoid such errors.
Editing enabled me to utilise my creativity, making executive decisions over content whilst offering creative solutions to problems. Consequent to the lack of takes during filming, audio often needed to be cut, resulting in a jump in the image. In order to overcome this issue we used the extra shots of the shop as cutaways, enabling us to cut the audio whilst using the shots as transitions. This technique was something which looked effective as it provided the viewer with a variety of shots to maintain their interest in the interview.
For the production of the spin-off programme, “Behind Broadstreet”, we decided to film it using Z7’s as we felt that this was the most appropriate format for the digital media team. This enabled us to edit our content, attaching the pre-titles, inserting the VT and graphics in order to produce a show ready to be uploaded onto our website. As we decided against using the galleries during production we had to make sure that other considerations were taken into account. This included making sure that the sound levels from the cameras were set appropriately, ensuring that sound was of a high quality and that footage produced variations in the camera shots. One limitation in using the Z7’s was the inability to produce smooth tracking transitions, having to alternately use camera settings to zoom or to produce handheld tracking, which often gave the footage an uneasy feeling.
As producer of “Behind Broadstreet” it was my responsibility to make sure that the programme maintained a sense of excitement, as I intended it to be produced in a way which made it feel ‘live’. I felt that the presenting skills could have been improved as at times the presenter often lacked enthusiasm; however, in order to incorporate more energy into the production I decided to have, where possible, other people within the show, including a social media presenter, guests and a live audience. This therefore gave the show more vigour whilst also supporting the main presenter in her role.
During the production I also undertook a role in front of the camera as my pre-production work for the main VT requested my appearance on the show. This meant that my role as producer for this section of the show had to be handed to another member of the team. This was something that I felt hindered my role as producer as I felt that by being in the programme I was unable to manage the members of the team effectively, although in future to avoid this I would make sure that any on-screen roles do not hinder off-screen production roles.
I also understood the need to support my main group during the production of ‘Broadstreet’ as I took on the role of production runner. The flexibility of my role saw me looking after the presenters and guests, liaising with the technical office when problems arose within the studio and making last minute re-adjustments to the script as it lacked detail of camera shots needed for the floor manager.
During post production I oversaw the editing of the ‘Behind Broadstreet’ programme, putting forward ideas and also helping members of the group in the editing process of the show which was then distributed online. By creating a YouTube account the digital media team were able to distribute content over YouTube, allowing us to reach a wider audience through different media platforms whilst also enabling us to distribute our final show through YouTube.
If I were to do this project again I would consider using the footage from the two shows, from tape to DVD and distributing it online. This would have enabled the shows to have captured a wider audience as it would have been promoted through all our online mediums, including our YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Word Press website. This would have attracted global viewers of the show and also given our audience the incentive to watch online. As the majority of students consume television online, distributing through this medium would have enabled our show to reach our intended audience through platforms they regularly engage with. My inability to transfer tape to DVD and the lack of time in which to do this prevented me from carrying out such ideas.