Beth on Work Experience
This past week has been by far the best working week since I gave up teaching exactly a year ago. I feel that both personally, and the business as well, have turned a big corner. Before this week I had that great sense of frustration, chasing the geese; now I feel that they are beginning to start coming over to me. Having an excellent work experience student in Beth, from Helston College, has certainly focused my mind. Beth has unwittingly acted as a catalyst and I am back into true work mode. Organisation and preparation were always going to be the keys to a successful week and this is how the week panned out:
Beth arrives at 9am and we’re chatting over coffee for half an hour before going through all of my camera production equipment – setting up as if to film. I am now realising just how much kit I have accumulated, particularly over the past couple of years: three Sony video cameras; three prime lenses; two tripods, a dolly and a slider; on-board, hand and lapel microphones,two monitors, two white balance cards and an array of batteries, SxS cards and other miscellany. Beth tries out the 35mm, 50mm and 85mm lenses and slider in the garden.
At 10.30am the Head of Pencalenick School, Helen Cambell, arrives and we go through the rushes that I had put together from filming at the school a couple of weeks before. Thankfully Helen is delighted with my first rough cut and offers some very helpful suggestions for cutting down the sync even further. I am delighted when she agrees to finance some additional work next term to enhance the talking heads (many of her key staff talking to camera) with some decent B roll footage.
1.30pm and Beth and I are in Truro working on the composition and framing of shots. We use the tried and trusted old Sony EX1 with the zoom lens. Shots of BBC Radio Cornwall, the HfC, Cathedral and various streets. We end up at Emily’s (River Street) for coffee and cake.
3.30pm and we miss the early arrival of our second visitor of the day, Nicholas Ladbrooke. Mrs H steps in. As I show Nick footage of his father’s reunion with an ex Bomber Command comrade who he’d not seen since 1943, tears well up and it is a bit of an emotional rollercoaster. To cut a long story short, I received the rushes of the reunion on DVDs about 7 years ago and we both forgot about it, until I cleared out a drawer and found them with a covering letter from Nick. In the mean time, Nick’s father has died and the You Tube video has been taken down by the videographers who had originally filmed it for a Canadian newspaper. Beth is making some copious notes, not quite sure what to make of everything (me thinks!).
Today we’re in doors at my editing suite. I am keen to introduce Beth to my “Inside the Edit” online editing course, and to give her some theory lessons. This is what work experience is all about! Then I show her how to make changes to the first of the five Pencalenick films and introduce Beth to Adobe Audition. She does the other four, speeding up and gaining greater proficiency as she masters the software and equipment. In the absence of locating my photographer friend to be filmed and interviewed under lights tomorrow, I am ringing former footballer, and now Manager of AFC Helston, Steve Massey, hoping that he is free to come over.
This morning starts with me bringing down both suitcases containing my Divalite and set of Dedo Lights. Beth and I set up cameras and lights for this afternoon. Again I am keen to share the theory as well as the practice of setting up a three point lighting interview. In fact we are using a fourth light to create an interesting effect on the wall.
Steve Massey arrives in the afternoon and is in great form. As he admitted in a Tweet later in the evening, “donkeys and hind legs come to mind.” We are using my two Sony F3 cinematic cameras to provide added interest and I’m trying desperately hard to give a lot of non verbal feedback and encouragement and avoid the usual “yes” and “mmmmm.” Not that Steve needs any encouragement. I am not sure what Beth makes of it all, not being football fan. She says that it was a good introduction to the game and then confesses to not knowing for sure who George Best was. “Ouch, I am old.”
Before he goes, Steve informs me that I will soon be approached by a local football team which needs to have their home fixtures filmed next season.
A lighter day and its late afternoon. I meet my work experience student Beth at St Ives Bay Village Park ahead of AFC Helston’s evening training session on the beach. We do a “reccie” before another coffee and cake. This time we’re filming using the shoulder mount, so the footage is always going to be a little shaky. Then disaster strikes, the electronic viewfinder of the said trusted video camera gives up its light. So I send Beth off and make do with the eyepiece. However, there is enough B roll filmed for us to complete tomorrow’s job. I later discover that one of us must have inadvertently turned the EVF off.
After grouping Steve Massey’s interview around common themes, I isolate the relevant sync. for today’s edit. I walk Beth through Adobe Prelude as we ingest the previous evening’s footage. Editing is so creative. The more of the tricks of the trade that you can learn, the more proficient, creative and employable you will become. I am living proof of it, thanks to “Inside the Edit;” my editing is improving in leaps and bounds. Professional editing is so much more than learning the keyboard shortcuts and the editing software. You have to acquire the mindset of an elite editor.
So Beth is taking the lead, (this is what work experience is all about) first grouping all the B roll (location shots, warm up session, games, shots of Steve Massey etc.) and then looking to select relevant clips to cover both the jump cuts and introduce a sense of breathing to the timeline. As we do this, we are also taking out as many of Steve’s “umms,” pauses and repetitive words we can and gradually cutting minutes from the sequence and making it more punchy. We select some appropriate music from AudioBlocks and add graphics. As with the introduction for Adobe Audition, Beth is speeding up with the repetition of cropping and colour correction tasks and doing a grand job.
Before the parting of the ways, there is one more task for each of us. I write a testimonial for Beth’s work experience journal and she does a “Youtuber” video testimonial for me that will be edited in a punchy, trendy way – breaking all the rules, with a plethora of jump cuts to the fore. Have a look for yourself.
So the tide appears to be turning, the threshold is being crossed and the future, all of a sudden, is beginning to look brighter. Further evidence of this was provided on Saturday afternoon. An ex Truro School colleague and now Headmaster of Sherfield School (Hants), Nick Fisher, drops by and invites me to visit his school next term to advise him with regards to the school’s future video marketing strategies. I can’t wait. Oh yes! Roll on the next work experience student!