Friday, March 11, 2016

In the TV Studio for My Own Production

Thursday saw me in the television studio again. But this time I was working on my own project. A show called "Blindside Fresno"

The show is about blindness issues, news and information. Thursdays program was a pilot, just to try out a basic formula, possibly build a crew and a practice for me to get the planning portion correct.

Possibly the most basic of all television formats is the two person interview. A host who introduces a guest and then leads the guest through the program, asking questions, giving responces and giving feedback to the guest.

As I have mentioned previously, this program has been in my mind since my initial studio training last November.. To read about my initial studio training Read my post here.

As my plans condensed I had decided the first program should be an interview with my retinologist, Dr. Vivian Kim of Advance Retina Care in Fresno. I have been her patient since early 2007 so I have come to respect her a great deal as she is very knowledgeable about her field.


Doctor Kim (Left) describes the anatomy of the eye using a medical model as host Darcie Elliott (Right) listens during the recording of 'Blindside Fresno'
Dr. Kim on Left describes the anatomy of the eye as my host Darcie Elliott conducts the interview.

Over the first few weeks of pre-production things were a little slow moving. Studio time had to be arranged at mutually convenient times, proposals were written to the television company, Community Media Access Collaborative (CMAC)  Scripts were prepared and checked for accuracy, then rewritten.

By mid February with dates and times set my job as producer really began to build rapidly. I needed to find a crew by advertising for volunteers and going over the volunteer list. I also needed to find a musical theme so I looked to a blind friend and musician for that.

With one week to go I had several volunteers ready to help and the music was ready to record. Then of course the gremlins started to step into the mix.

First the only recording of the theme music was somehow scrambled at another facility. My crew began to dwindle rapidly as life events came into their lives. This is the sort of thing that a producer really needs to prepare for. Completing a program is a large team effort.

At the last minute the original host dropped out too. So my wife bravely stepped up to be host for this pilot. I admit that I breathed a little sigh of relief at that because I was worried about how my originally planned host would work with the entire subject of vision loss. But Darcie did an excellent job.

Thankfully I had two of my original crew arrive for the crew call.  Ricky and Ben did an excellent job. We created the set, put up cameras and left them on standard settings for the recording. One camera each on guest and host, the third left to cover a wide shot of both.

We did not have the luxury of having any camera operators. Both Ricky and Ben were already going to have to cover two control room positions each. Ricky on Tri-caster and audio and Ben calling the camera shots working the autoque machine and planning what shots to prepare.

I was also in the control room asking Ben for some particular shots  or technical features such fade ins and outs to help with the editing later.

All the time we were also helped by many of the staff at CMAC who gave us a brief revision of operating the control room and preparation.

Finally the show recorded in just under thirty minutes. We had started a little late due to the amount of work put on us by having such a small crew. But both my crew did very well and it looks as we now move into the post production phase, editing. That we have an interesting program on record.




Inside the control room of 'Blindside Fresno' Director Ben sits to the right as Technical Director Ricky works at the Tri-caster, vision mixer on left. On the wall in front of them is a monitor which shows the view of all three cameras the large image on upper right shows the currently recorded image.
In the Control Room During the Recording of 'Blindside Fresno'
So now it is time to move on to post production. I have learned a lot of things that should have been done by now. I should have planned to allow for the loss of my theme music, I should have created some of the graphics already. But now we are this far into the project I am very pleased.

Watch out for the next instalment of this adventure into the world of television production.