Alex's Blog

After the end of our ‘Sustainability’ programme before Christmas, we were told that for our third and final television programme for the TVBRO unit, we would be able to pitch and choose our own programme idea. After some discussions, we decided to continue with our ambitious programme ideas and produce a half-hour Nature programme.

For the programme, my main role was as the studio director in the CCI Studio, this is our upstairs chroma key studio which is often used for shorter, informative sections during the programmes produced by Television and Broadcasting students. However, given the theme of the programme, I was never intending to use the green screen studio for this programme. Instead, I was hoping we’d be able to use the Eldon Building’s courtyard for our second studio.I was responsible for carrying out risk assessments and all the other logistics involved with arranging this mini outside broadcast, liaising with staff from the course and the building managers to ensure the OB would be feasible.

Like the previous show on Sustainability, the programme opened with my new-look CCI TV titles leading into a pre-recorded opening from the roof of our uni building, overlooking the south coast. Originally, this was meant to be recorded on location at the Kingley Vale shoot as Tobias was also presenting that package. However when I went to edit the ingested footage, I found it couldn’t be used as it was slightly blurry. Time and financial constraints meant we weren’t able to re-shoot at Kingley Vale, so I wrote a quick script for a new opening and after several health and safety meetings to ensure we wouldn’t jump off the roof, we recorded our new top-of-the-show opener.

The first half of the show was fairly smooth, we had a good variety of packages and possibly one of our best studio guests on the sofa for the interview… Except for this show, there was no sofa! After a group of us got creative and went for a shopping spree in a local garden centre, we’ve re-dressed the bog-standard CCI TV Studio set with one that’s more in tune with the Nature theme!

CCI TV Nature Show set

Our re-dressed CCI TV Studio set

The set also included hay bales which we’d borrowed from a farmer (much to the dismay of the University Health and Safety people), which looked nice on camera, although they were massively impractical. Black stools were needed behind them to support the weight of someone sitting on them, even though we only one of these per hay bale which can’t have been very comfortable for the presenters during the studio interview. Thanks for taking one for the team guys!

As I was directing the show from the chroma key studio, which doubled as our master control area, I was able to oversee the output from the Eldon Broadcast Hub (our main studio) as well as communicating with another director who was the vision mixer for the courtyard sections. But of course, by half way through the show when we had about two minutes to drop everything run Tobias from the green screen studio and run down stairs to the courtyard, it was chucking it down! Luckily the equipment was covered enough that we were able to continue with the OB, albeit with a cameo appearance from Mike Parsons as Tobias’ glamorous assistant:

I stand by there’s no better way to do a programme about nature than getting out into it, and think something would have been amiss if we hadn’t stuck with the Outside Broadcast element. Although it was definitely the most difficult section of the show, both for the crew and the staff who had to help with the ‘all hands on deck’ broadcast, as it required more crew than we had in our group.

Overall the show was well-received, despite how complicated some elements of it were to produce! Our next and final regular broadcast will be the radio show I am the producer for, focussing on Unsung Heroes.

Nature Show team photo

Our group’s team photo after our last show using the much frequented CCI TV studios.

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