The Sweded film project was something I was looking forward to ever since my UWE interview, it was a chance to dive in and get making something and also a chance to get to know our Media Futures project group. While I wasn’t aware of the term Sweding (coined in Michel Gondry’s film Be Kind Rewind.) I was aware of the concept and it was something that appealed to me.
We had a very short time to prepare for this assignment so it was essential that the group quickly got together to create a plan; the same afternoon we were due to visit the scrapstore in Bristol to buy props.
We had around 2 days to prepare and 2 hours to film our Sweded film before presenting it to the rest of the group. I’m a person who likes to be prepared so it was unsettling when there was a lacklustre response to my requests for a script or a shooting list. We seemed to adopt a ‘we’ll sort it out on the day’ approach.
I became the cameraman/DoP as well as preparing some props for us to use (Rugby posts/ Gravestone) and on the day when it mattered the sort it out on the day approach seemed to work. Underpressure the group sprang into action and from nowhere seemingly we had a team effort and an impressive product created in just over an hour and a half.
When we showed our product the rest of the group were impressed. We seemed to have reproduced some of the key scenes that form the narrative and using creative camera angles and props we did seem to have a relatively good standard of production value.
I think the fact that we discovered another group sweding the same film as us made us realise we had a bit of competition and maybe helped us to concentrate our efforts.
Overall it was a great experience and the response from the group and our tutor was a great confidence builder. Working so closely together so soon into the course really helped to break the ice in the group and gave an opportunity to show of some of our individual skills which brought us to uni in the first place.
The TV Studio exercise was a fantastic introduction to both how the TV industry works and the facilities that will be available to us at UWE. It was also a chance to break up the from the very large class into smaller groups so we could get to know each other without being overwhelmed. I think it’s placement at the end of of week one after we had been sitting through lectures about campus policy and H&S rules was refreshing.
Before undertaking our exercise it was interesting to hear some of the inside knowledge from our tutors about how live TV works, Tim explained how TV networks operate and how important it is to keep to strict timings in order to be able to sync up to the main network operator when it returns to national broadcasts, this really interested me and is something that goes unnoticed when we watch TV (unless it goes wrong).
Before we undertook our exercise we were given the chance to choose our roles and get an introduction to the equipment. To fill the roles we went around the group and people expressed an interest in a particular role. My preferred role was to be a vision mixer or camera operator but these seemed to be popular in the group so at this point I decided that I would be happy taking on one of the less desirable tasks within the group as I knew I could undertake other roles at a later stage.
My role for the TV Studio exercise was to run the autocue, this at first seemed like it would be a pretty easy job that might go unnoticed but it quickly became apparent that if I messed it up then the whole show could suddenly look very unprofessional.
On the day of recording we had 3 hour to prepare for the show, during this time I had to input the script into the autocue system, check for errors and make any changes to the script as required from the script editor. We had a number of run throughs which gave me a chance to gauge the correct speed to run the autocue at in relation to how fast the talent naturally spoke. Both presenters required a slightly different speed of autocue so it was important that I listened as they read in order to keep up with them or slow down.
I think the end product overall was pretty impressive considering the time we had to produce the show, I think the task really motivated the group and got people interested in learning about different TV production roles. The task definitely highlighted how technically complicated it is to produce a live TV show, particularly the size of the production crew needed and how important it is to constantly monitor the output to ensure you keep to the strict time constraints.