17th April to 30th May – iCov

17th April 2014

We had our initial meeting with Shelly Stevenson today, who explained about the iCov project and what we would be getting involved with. For Media Production students our main responsibilities are to design the set and run the studio on the days of filming, these will include the roles of vision mixer, director, PA, lighting, sound, floor manager, auto cue, VT runner and general runner. I have put my name down for vision mixer but am also considering PA. We will be working on this project throughout May, and will have our next meeting with Shelly on 6th May.

6th May 2014

Shelly explained a bit more about the 3 pre-recorded shows that we need to build the sets for and asks if we could find some content for one of these, so I have sent out a message to people on our course asking if they want to showcase a short film or documentary on the show. After the meeting we started to brainstorm the different sets. These will need to go with the titles of the inserts, Digital Living, where they talk about how the world is changing due to new technology, The Next Big Thing – where they are looking at work produced by up and coming media practitioners, and the last one Under our noses, where they will interview people who do something different, or are semi-famous. We decided a good background for Digital Living would be something made of old computers and technology, we could use old keyboards or hard drives from computers as well as mouses or old mobile phones. We have another meeting with Craig, the technician, to go through the TV studio health and safety.

 8th May 2014

We had a meeting in the TV studio to learn some of the new equipment and make sure we were up to date on everything. This went well, with most people attending. We then had a meeting afterwards to go over things we still weren’t sure on and write them down, ready to email Shelly with the questions we needed answering before we could progress to more detailed set designing. We went through each of the 3 shows, trying to think of how we would design the set. My idea for digital living was well received by members of the group so this will hopefully go ahead when we hear back from Shelly, I also came up with an idea of a massive paper mache nose above the presenter/s for the show Under our Noses, which was also well received. I also thought we could find a lip shaped sofa for the presenters to sit on. We are still thinking of the Next Big Thing theme.

12th May 2014

The TV people had a meeting today to finalise the set designs. We now have 3 designs for the 3 different sets as well as a news readers set and an additional catwalk/stage area for live performing.

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We also went to speak to Shelly to ask her some questions we hadn’t heard back from. She gave us a few more details on the show, how many presenters there were, what will be included in the show and showed us an example of the running order, which she is sending over to the director (Nathanael) at the end of the day. We also arranged to meet with the journalism students on Friday afternoon to see what else they know and get to know them a bit better before recording starts next week. We have all been given a list of items needed for the sets so will continue to buy and collect things for this tomorrow, ready to start building and painting on Thursday. We also received our £150 budget for the sets (£50 for each)

13th May 2014

Today Nathanael, Freya and I went into town to hunt down cheap resources to use for the sets, we found spray paints which were £5 each, which is expensive but a very important part of the Digital Living set. We also found wallpaper and wallpaper paste in Pound World which has saved us a lot of money. We also looked in charity shops for sofas or coffee tables but specifically for a glass top we could use for the digital living, which we found for £20 including a metal coffee table which will be painted and reused for the other 2 sets.

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We then went to Primark and found some cushions to use for the Under Our Noses set, but luckily posted these onto the Facebook group and found that someone already owned them both, so they will bring these in this week.

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We then went to see the Fashion department at Coventry University in the hopes they would give us some material for free providing we didn’t ruin it, which they agreed to so we said we would get the length and colour scheme sorted and go back tomorrow.

We went to the basement after this to get more detailed set designs and discuss what was left to do. We still need cardboard and to buy the paint. We also need to sort out seating, flooring and precise back drops for the under our noses set, which will be sourced first thing tomorrow, we will then spend the day working in small groups to complete certain tasks, these groups and tasks were set by Nathanael and I this evening.

14th May 2014

We started work on the Digital Living set, constructing the iPad, which will go in the centre of the background. I joined the team at midday as I work Wednesday mornings.

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We carried on till 6:45pm to ensure we were at a good place to carry on the following day. We decided to split off into teams to ensure each set was completed. I am in the Digital Living team with Nathaneal, Konrad, Kieran and Freya. James, Dom, Livvy and Charles are working on Under Our Noses and Caroline, Gemma and Monica are working on the Next Big Thing. They have drawn out their sets, ready to start work on them tomorrow.

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Today I have learnt how to use a glue gun and try to organise a team of people, keeping them on track of their work. I have also learnt how to take a computer apart.

15th May 2014

Digital Living carried on work on the iPad, Konrad and I also made the coffee table, which is made out of old computer parts bought in by myself.

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Shelly was very pleased with how it looks and excited to use it on the set. James and Dom started work on the stage, completing most of it ready to finish off and paint tomorrow.

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Gemma, Monica and Caroline finished their title for the set and sent Charles and Livvy off to look for sofas and curtains.

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Today I learnt how to deal with stress, as well as try to keep people on track and keep people from falling out with each other. I also learnt how to complete a lot of things in a small space of time, making quick decisions that would benefit the quality of work we want to achieve, for example, making the decision to spray paint the wires red for the table, making them stand out more on the table.

16th May 2014

With our set now almost complete, we started to help the others with theirs. The journalism students came down to take a look at the work we’d been doing and seemed happy with the Digital Living and Next Big Thing sets.

There was some confusion over the Under Our Noses set as we originally thought this set was the one needing the stage, when actually it was Next Big Thing, so we had to rethink this set and come up with a new concept. After going through a few drawings of noses with wings, we came up with an abstract style, with bright colours splattered across the set, this suited the people on the show and also have decided to have photo frames with silhouettes in, emphasising the under our noses theme. We got to work on this set, with Kieran and I creating the title background while Konrad and Freya got on with the title on the iPad. Dom and James’ stage will now be used for the Next Big Thing Set, James painted it red to fit in with their red, gold and black theme.

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Today I learnt that leaving people to do their own thing is sometimes beneficial, as they know what they’re doing and sometimes things can get confused in translating thoughts. I also learnt how fun abstract art can be and how good it is for de-stressing. I enjoyed today a lot more, people knew what they were doing and just got on with it, without Nathaneal or myself having to ask what they need to do now.

19th May 2014

We finished off a lot of bits and bobs today, including the Under Our Noses title, which needed spray painting. We also put the flooring down in the studio and found that it was too short, so quick thinking Nathaneal suggested getting his rug from home and placing that in the middle, with flooring around it, giving the affect the flooring ran all the way under the rug. Konrad, Kieran and I went to ask about sofas as we had heard nothing back from our last attempt, the women we spoke to gave my email to a women who said she would let us know whether we could have them by 1.30 that day, this time came and went and we didn’t hear anything so another few people went to ask, they said I would hear by 5pm but still hadn’t heard. We will go back tomorrow first thing to ask, as the sofas are needed for then. Our back up plan is to just use the ones in the reception of Ellen Terry, although these sofas are not as good. We also got the boards ready for the set tomorrow, so we don’t have to do anything when we get in in the morning. A team of us went out to film a VT for tomorrow. This was about a man, Simon Pipe who is a morris dancer, he did a performance with a sweeping brush, this went quite well. I was the stills op and managed to get some good photos to use in portfolios or for our presentation, as well as some good shots of Simon in action.

Things I learnt:

I enjoyed taking the photos as this gave me more freedom to move around and get different shots, it also allowed me to practise a new skill I had not had the opportunity to practise much before. It was interesting to see how quickly journalism students could get things together, media production students tend to faff on for longer, ensuring the shot is perfect before moving on, whereas journalists tend to ensure they have whatever they need to get the message across without worrying so much about the quality of the footage.

20th May 2014

Our first filming day! It went quite smoothly to begin with, there were changes to the script and running order, which meant the show was completely out of sync, this will be a problem when editing and will become quite time consuming, which is something the journalism students will learn. It came across how unorganised they seemed to be, things weren’t mentioned to us that should have been, like a dog being let into the studio without a health and safety form being filled out or any of our crew being informed. It became quite clear in the early afternoon how tiresome filming can be and the crew felt quite drained, the filming in the afternoon seemed to be more complicated and took longer, this was due to the running order not being in the right order and issues with a Skype interview that could have been sorted out beforehand had we had a chance to practise the show. The set worked well, the sound was perfect and the lighting was as good as it could be. Our team worked quite efficiently, sometimes things became hard to relay to the studio if Gemma (floor manager) was busy talking to Cat (presenter). It was very strange having the journalism students hovering around, taking photos and sound bites and this was a bit off putting at first, but I soon got used to it. Overall the day was very tiring but not as stressful as I first thought it would be. I feel I am well equipped for my role due to being in the studio twice before, it now seems like a natural space to be in. We also filmed a VT of a steel cello player after most of the crew had gone home. This went very smoothly.

21st May 2014

Digital living was much more organised compared to the previous day, we were given printed copies of the running order and scripts, which helped a lot. They also had a set schedule for the day and this didn’t change too much. We seemed to film a lot less footage, but this group had practised their piece previously, so knew exactly how long things would take. This means the other group will have to cut down their footage, which will take up more time in the editing process.

I learned today that working with a good producer is essential, the director also needs a good bond with them so they can make quick, precise decisions as a team.

23rd May 2014

Next Big Thing.

The set was more complicated for this show, so this took a lot of time to set up in the morning, this meant we didn’t start filming till gone 11 despite the group turning up at 9.30. The producer took more of a directors role on this show, making changes to how she wanted the set to be. We were also not told that the models only had until 12 o clock that day before they had to leave and hand some work in, which if told earlier on in the morning would have speeded the crew up and we would have been done a lot quicker. This did push us to work to a time limit however, and we managed to film everything we needed in time, with two takes. Although this show was the most complicated and awkward at times, it was also the most interesting, with models and a live choir, which let the camera operators experiment with shots a bit more.

27th May 2014

First test day, had to build the set for the live news. This meant taking off all the stuff on the digital living iPad and recreating the middle of it to suit the news piece. After a very busy 2 weeks, we all felt very demotivated so not a lot was achieved. We were also unable to do a run through because of timing constraints. This means that tomorrow will be a lot harder, more stressful and we will run into more problems having not rehearsed before.

28th May 2014

We came in early in the morning to finish off the news set, we were due to be in the studio at 12, but did not realise this meant we were streaming live at 12 sharp, we thought it would be more of a practise run through, this meant all the cameras and sound needed to be set up, making us late for the streaming, we also ran into problems with the streaming, which stopped working. We didn’t get scripts or running orders until we were due to be on air, which made my job very difficult. We managed to meet a bit earlier for the afternoon news, which meant i could look through the running order more effectively before streaming. We also spoke to David (a journalism lecture) who seemed to understand our issues with not having a script or proper running order, he ensured these would be done more effectively for the following day. Alrhough we ran into a lot of problems today, I am glad we had a rehearsal and am feeling positive about tomorrow, I know roughly the timings of everything so hopefully this will run smoothly.

29th May 2014

The big day! We made sure we were all in early to go over the midday news and set up before streaming at 12. The streaming was now working properly, thanks to Craig who fixed it!  I was very nervous about today as a lot of things counted on my timings, which was a lot of pressure. There were also a lot of people in and out of the TV studio, with 2 lecturers there watching the whole time, which made me feel more anxious. Luckily i timed almost everything perfectly, with only one slip up, which i didn’t handle well and lost my cool, which is something i will try not to do in the future.

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