Eurovision, EastEnders, Strictly and more!

I think there needs to be some equation set out that explains the disinterest in blogging and tweeting if you do it in your work-life. Something along the lines of…

blogging + work = not blogging at home

There, that can be it! Not sure what all these mathematicians and scientists are singing and dancing about…. equations are actually quite easy.

Anyway, since my last entry so much has changed! Life seems to have a fun way of twisting and turning in such a short space of time and before you know it a year has already passed, you’ve done two months on EastEnders (as blogger Guest Insider) and you are back to working on Strictly Come Dancing.

Gemma presenting at Playback

Me presenting at my playback session

I guess the most recent thing that has happened has been my presentation about integration and how successful it can be to a production. Using Eurovision 2011 as an example, I gave my top 5 tips to getting the most out of Multiplatform and Linear teams working together.

Gemma Hodgson

Me presenting at my Playback session

They were:
1. Be positive– I knows sounds totally cliché but it’s amazing how many ideas get turned down within the first sentence because of the word ‘no’ aka ‘can’t be bothered to investigate’

2. Do your research – I think as well as being part of the Multiplatform team, it’s also your job to educate the linear teams about what is possible regarding audience interaction these days. And to also let them know how cheap it can be these days!

3. Get involved – being a self shooting, self editing ACP means that I can film and edit for the linear teams. It’s a great way to really feel part of a team so if you have and skills, even if they are very basic, get practicing so that next time someone needs something covering you can put your services forward.

Gemma Hodgson

Presenting at my playback session

4. Be flexible – It’s clear that you aren’t going to work office hours anymore, especially when the production really gets going. It’s important to understand and remember this!

5. Finally, learn the lingo – Not only is it your job to educate people about the world of the web but also, to help with team morale and getting involved – see tip 3 ;o) – learn the lingo of the TV production. It really helps you to feel part of something more than ‘just the web’

So they are the top tips I presented. It was a very interesting experience and one that I really enjoyed. It’s really helped me to get focused for upcoming events.

Soon I shall be working on Strictly and I have already set reminders to help me blog each week about my experiences. It’s certainly set to be an interesting autumn!!

The views and opinions expressed in this article are that of my own and not my employer.

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Airfront Media Ltd website up and running!

It’s finally arrived! The website for Airfront Media Ltd by the very talented Front-end web developer and designer Paul Michael Smith (not biased at all!).

Airfront Media LtdThe website for the North-West based company has been live for a month already with tips on how to cancel ambient noise when those impossible deadlines seem to be creeping closer, and the reason behind those rainbow clouds on the homepage.

Why not have a look around and see what work Paul has been up to since leaving the BBC in 2008 and becoming a Freelance Front-end Developer and Web Designer from Manchester.

A few things that you should try out include, click on the bird on the homepage (nice Twitter touch), click on the basket ball and try to understand the link to the website (very witty), and finally if you refresh the homepage you can see a collection of different posters appear on the left (nice for a bit of change!).

The views and opinions expressed in this article are that of my own and not my employer.

Staffordshire University visit

Last week I had the privilege to visit my old university, Staffordshire University, for a careers-type talk to those on the Media Production course. They also whisked me away for an interview camera…hmmm I think it’s pretty obvious why I work behind the camera haha. I’m sure I’ll let you know though when it goes live…I know how you’ll want to listen to me witter on!

I spoke to the students about what I have been up to since graduating, using my previous ‘how I got into media‘ blog as inspiration for a lot of what I had to say.

I didn’t realised just how many different jobs and productions I have worked on in the past 5 years! Time certainly flies when you are having fun.

I’d just like to say, good luck to all those in the third year! I hope you all do really well and get to do what you want. For those in the second year, enjoy your final year next year…it’s going to be great!

The views and opinions expressed in this article are that of my own and not my employer.

Why 3D films will never catch on

After a brief mooch on Digg, I found this interesting article about how 3D will never catch on. Taken from a letter written by film editor Walter Murch, there are a few points worth a think…

“The biggest problem with 3D, though, is the “convergence/focus” issue. A couple of the other issues — darkness and “smallness” — are at least theoretically solvable. But the deeper problem is that the audience must focus their eyes at the plane of the screen — say it is 80 feet away. This is constant no matter what.

But their eyes must converge at perhaps 10 feet away, then 60 feet, then 120 feet, and so on, depending on what the illusion is. So 3D films require us to focus at one distance and converge at another. And 600 million years of evolution has never presented this problem before. All living things with eyes have always focussed and converged at the same point.

If we look at the salt shaker on the table, close to us, we focus at six feet and our eyeballs converge (tilt in) at six feet. Imagine the base of a triangle between your eyes and the apex of the triangle resting on the thing you are looking at. But then look out the window and you focus at sixty feet and converge also at sixty feet. That imaginary triangle has now “opened up” so that your lines of sight are almost — almost — parallel to each other.

“We can do this. 3D films would not work if we couldn’t. But it is like tapping your head and rubbing your stomach at the same time, difficult. So the “CPU” of our perceptual brain has to work extra hard, which is why after 20 minutes or so many people get headaches. They are doing something that 600 million years of evolution never prepared them for. This is a deep problem, which no amount of technical tweaking can fix. Nothing will fix it short of producing true “holographic” images.

Consequently, the editing of 3D films cannot be as rapid as for 2D films, because of this shifting of convergence: it takes a number of milliseconds for the brain/eye to “get” what the space of each shot is and adjust.”

You can see the full article, written by Roger Ebert, here.

The views and opinions in this article are that of my own and not my employer.

Birds Eye View Film Festival 2011

OK, so I lied about my next blog being about my short film but I found this and it was much more interesting! Don’t think I will put ‘up next’ on the bottom of my blogs…I never seem to stick to it haha.

The initial programme for the 2011 Birds Eye View Film Festival has finally been announced and it’s already looking quite interesting:

  • A masterclass with filmmaker Lucy Walker, director of award-winning documentaries Blindsight and Wasteland. Taking place at BFI Southbank on Wednesday 16th March.
  • An opportunity to meet some of the filmmakers attending Birds Eye View in association with Shooting People. Taking place on Friday 11th March at the ICA.
  • And also, a chance to see how the scriptwriters from the She Writes scheme has been getting on over the past year.

The tickets go on sale in February. Meanwhile you can keep up to date with all the other news with their Twitter account, on Facebook or through their website.

The views and opinions in this article are that of my own and not my employer.

Canon 5D Filming

Weekend #1
The first weekend I used a Zoom H4 box to record the sound.

It was alright although no chance I would have been able to film on my own. Luckily I had the help of Emma. The Zoom H4 box records the sound separately onto an SD card as either a WAVE or mp3 file.

The sound had to sync up as video and audio were recorded onto separate devices…like in the ye olde days of film!


Weekend #2
The second weekend I used a customized Glensound Box that recorded sound straight onto the Canon 5D

The files imported into FCP fine, although I had to obviously change the settings of the project so that I didn’t have to render the timeline every time I put a clip down.

If you have the same problem, don’t forget to create a new sequence once you have changed the FCP project settings otherwise the new settings won’t be applied to the new sequence.

If you haven’t guessed already, that was something I found myself literally tearing my hair out at! Luckily I’m a lady and I have long hair so I can fashion a nice comb over for the time being.

I’m totally hooked on the new Canon 5D MK2! This is the first sequence that I produced having used it:

(Please note, the lovely BBC YouTube peeps seemed to have uploaded a wrong aspect version and it’s been compressed, obviously)

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Next Week: Short Film research… I want to make a short film at the start of this year so I’m starting the pre production for it soon

Twitter for Strictly

If you are wondering where the article about my premiere performance is, basically the shoot has been cancelled until November when we head to Blackpool.

Instead, here is a still of me! At least I have given you something even if it is just a still 😉

Gemma taking a picture of Goldie

This is taken from the first week when Goldie was still in Strictly Come Dancing.

Basically this is what I do on Saturday night while the main show is on.

I take pictures of the acts as they come off stage and publish it straight to Twitter.

I also add in a quote so that the reactio is more instant and exclusive.

The pictures are then used on the strictly blog and the backstage gallery.

I finish the night by recording some reactions to the results with the judges.

Fun-packed and never boring!
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Next Week: Filming with the Canon 5D camera