Delivering Project

There have been concerns regarding hand in for this project, the reason being that there is no project leader so nobody is currently responsible for assembling all the production documents and the final delivery. Alistair called a meeting for everyone involved in the project today, only Claudia, Gavin and I showed up for this surprisingly.

Following the meeting Claudia has kindly agreed to assemble the production folder for the project, I will send her all of my parts concerning lighting and set design. I have agreed to assemble the final delivery for the project, this will consist of the following elements:

Final Broadcast – The final version of the broadcast to be submitted. I need to trim the blank edges from the feed and add the UWE clock, following the export requirements for hand in.

Trailer – This was the only other video element that wasn’t included in the broadcast. I believe Chris Prowse has this so I will chase him up about it.

5minute Extract – This is required for the purpose of the screening dates on Thursday and Friday. Alistair has requested a 5minute cut so I will go through the entire broadcast to create a “best bits” reel, cutting and delivering through Adobe Premier.

All of these exports need to be delivered on a memory stick for hand in. It’s unfortunate that the project has broken down so much that there is no clear leader to pull it together for hand in, thankfully Claudia and I have volunteered. It will nice to see this project through to its completion as its been a huge learning curve and development phase in my final year of university.

Contributions Completed

I came into this project as an opportunity to refine my craft in lighting design, I feel like I have come out of it with more experience in set design and construction than any other role. The fact this project fell apart made it such a valuable learning experience, and on the way to making it work I undertook a whole new skill set and was able to rekindle professional relationships that have proven so vital.

Considering this project purely from its revamp it was great to work with so many dedicated individuals, rather than accept the project as bust we all pulled together to get some form of broadcast output. Everyone was able to expand their skill set and undertake more than what was required, and even if the final execution wasn’t entirely perfect the fact we were able to broadcast is a huge achievement.

Whilst I my role started to sway away from lighting I still learnt a lot regarding studio lighting during the pre-production process. When it came to set design I always considered lighting and ended up implemented practical lamps in the built (LED strips). My professional relationship with James Helps was one of the defining moments in this project and my career path towards lighting design.

With James’s expertise and connections in theatre he was able to put me in contact with some industry professionals, ultimately leading to my application with Alma Tavern and Redgrave Theatre. Set building brought its own learning and inheritance of skills, starting to shape me as a technician.

The general feeling of relief follows the completion of this broadcast, the fact it was a salvaged project I do not expect anything more to follow. However the friendship I have built with James will continue to flourish and I’m certain he will be a vital contact for getting where I want to in the near future.

Broadcast Day

Today was broadcast day, despite not going live until the evening my day was completely hectic and did not stop. The final elements of the set were brought together in the morning just hours before rehearsals began, this was simply due to the time scale available for Lewys and I to dedicate to turning over a project so quickly.

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I started the day finishing assembling the desk as yesterday I had painted one last coat, leaving them to dry overnight. I started by securing the LED strip lighting to the back of the V shape prior to fastening it to the desk. Once completed I was then able to drill a hold through the desk to feed the lights, then drilling a further two holes in the top to run a strip along the width of the desk.

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With the LED strips secured I then nailed the V into place on the desk. In order to power the desk I cut a slit in the astro turf to run an extension cord under the turf floor so it would be concealed from shot.

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Whilst I waited on the letters from Lewys I went ahead and drilled 12mm holes in the Varsity letter outlines ready for the LED strips to be fed through. At the time I had the idea that if the letters weren’t complete in time I could have drilled some further holes to outline the letters then shine a 2K Arri through. This didn’t matter as shortly after Lewys showed up with the letters and wooden dowels to offset them from the back board.

To fasten the letters we drilled each dowel into the back board, then used strong acrylic glue to secure each letter to its set of dowels. After leaving them time to set I was then able to thread the LED strips through the board so the letters could be illuminated. Following this Lewys had to dash off so I was left pulling together the final fine tune elements.

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By this point Alex (Lighting Assistant) had arrived so I had him fine tune the lighting in relation to the final build. I gave him director as to how I wanted the lights positioned then he went off a executed the plans perfectly. We also had to set up the lighting for the green screen element of the studio, this went relatively well but I am not 100% happy with the final execution as we struggled with light spill and ran out of time to fix this due to the last minute addition of the green screen element.

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Alex and I also went through the studio floor space and substituted fresnels for softboxes. I was concerned at the amount of shadows being cast on the studio floor for the wides, having tweaked with the lighting position I felt the easiest solution would be softer light sources. Some fresnels were still used to help pop out the presenters but the majority of the rig became softboxes for even coverage without shadow.

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I feel if I wasn’t juggling two intensive roles in the project I could have ensured each element was done flawlessly. The green screen fell short for lighting whilst the joins in the backboards fell short on the set design. Despite these minor problems I am extremely proud of what I managed to pull together, the vital elements to the entire production, possible with help from Lewys (Set Designer), James (Set Build) and Alex (Lighting Assistant).

Shortly into rehearsals Jake (Director)went through lighting cues with me, simply fading the lights in and out at the start and the end of the broadcast. I liked the inclusion of this element as it allowed the entire LED lit studio to be seen by the audience, the one truly stylistic element to the otherwise generic studio lighting format.

In terms of the LED strips the original plan for them to glow red was scrapped as they didn’t show up too well on the cameras. I liked the idea of using blue as it contrasted nicely against the red/maroon, but in the end Jake, Alex and I settled on a combination of red and blue LEDs.

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The final broadcast wasn’t clean cut, but I am extremely happy with the elements I contributed. I have highlighted what fell short, but in relation to everything that was achieved in the set and lighting department I can only see the positives of the project. It has been a lot of stuff happening in such a short space of time, I’ve had to pump in a hell of a lot more effort than I thought I would to the reformatted project, but it has been all worthwhile standing in the studio and seeing the design physically standing there. It’s going to be a real shame to have to take it down tomorrow.

Set Build

As the live date has been getting closer and closer I have found myself becoming further involved with the set design and construction. Having gone through and developed the design with Lewys I have recently found myself assembling the set whilst he goes on to create specific elements that I can later compile (i.e. logos in frames). Despite branching away from my lighting designer role I haver been enjoying the experience working as a set designer, I feel like I have contributed greatly to the cause and have ensured that the project has been able to go ahead.

Lewys and I met first thing this morning to start assembling elements onto the already built back walls from last week. Lewys did an extremely nice job with the frames and lettering, we measured them against the wall and drilled them in place, fastening the top two corners only. As the ‘Varsity’ letters were yet to be mounted I suggested we go ahead and glue the rest of the words, hopefully tomorrow we can attach the main letters. For now we have outlined their positions and I will be planning on drilling holes to accommodate for LED backlighting.

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Having secured these elements I met up with James Helps (Professional Set Designer) and took a trip down to Bottleyard Studios. I have been in conversation with James a lot recently and we realised we were both after astro turf for our respective projects, thankfully James new a guy who could help us out on supplying it for minimal charge. Paul Lewis also works in theatre alongside lecturing drama at the UWE Frenchay campus, we all got on extremely well and hopefully I can chase up some work opportunities with him soon. James and I loaded up 3 rolls of astro into the car to cover the floor width (14ft) with enough kickout for the desk and chairs. Getting it back into the TV Studio the effects of changing the flooring were incredible and made a huge impact!

By this point Lewys had to run back so James and I continued to design and assemble the set. We started by laying out the astro in precise position, as we had to lift boards to accommodate we then had to refasten the middle join where the wall had pulled away from its frame, this was easily done with some longer screws as opposed to nails previously used.

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I had come up with the concept for a semi-circular desk so that all of the presenters could comfortably sit around during discussions. Having measured this out using some spare chipboard from an old desk James was able to start cutting this out with an electric jigsaw whilst I widened holes in the backboard to allow LED strips to thread from behind and wrap around each framed logo. The effect was exactly as I hoped it would be, adding a little something to pop them out further. Despite the temptation to make them change colours (what would be too distracting) I decided on red for both sides in order to match the existing house style for varsity (black, white, red/maroon).

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The design for the desk gradually developed as James and I bounced ideas off one another. The result was a flat front with small kick outs either side to conceal legs under the desk, I then suggested cutting out a ‘V’ for Varsity to stick on the front (similar to the compromised new design of the studio as the television became too difficult an option). It took me by surprise the effect building such a simple design had on the entire studio, it really was a nice finishing touch to the set build.

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Between the three of us all elements of the set were pulled together ready for evening rehearsals (despite a few not being fully completed). The set looked fantastic and I am extremely proud of what I have been able pull together in collaboration with James and Lewys. It seems a real shame to have to take it down again following the broadcast. Following the rehearsal I painted two layers of white onto the desk boards and did split red/maroon colours on the V which will stand out from the desk on wooded plates.

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In terms of lighting (which unfortunately become slightly overlooked today) I need to look at some of the shadows cast on the floor from the presenter and think of methods of reduce this, first thought being softer lights. Secondly we will be using green screen so I will have to get in earlier to set it up and light as appropriate.

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Tomorrow Lewys will cut the mounts of the ‘Varsity’ lettering so I can fasten them in place and line with LED strips. I will also run this strip lighting around the V and underside of the main desk. Once this is completed in the morning I can then focus on tweaking the lighting ready for rehearsals all afternoon leading directly into the evening broadcast.

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Set Build

This morning I finished the last coat of paint on the boards so that this evening Lewys, James, Alex and I could get the main structure of the set in place. I started by measuring out the floor space in relation to the rig for the least amount of hassle moving fixtures, thankfully finding an area with plenty of overhead fresnels as sources of strong backlight. Alex and I then added some softbox fixtures at the front of the the set lined with scrim to fill it all in. Pointing each light individually at the vague plan for the performance area put up in a good start in terms of lighting.

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When Lewys arrived we started to nail the wooden frames to each board, shortly after James arrived by that point Alex had to dash off so the three of us started assembling the structure. Fastening the metal hinges Lewys had fabricated it was a relatively quick process to pull the structure together. There were some minor issues with how tight the join was (had to sand down wood). We also chose to add additional slats for structural support.

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The boards give a real sense of space and really make me anticipate the finished product. Lewys has done a fantastic job and I really appreciate James’s help and expertise; he will be going over the joins tomorrow night. I marked out the seats and desks; we are looking at constructing a semi-circle top to the desk so it allows for three to sit around naturally whilst offering a flat front for the television. I have asked Lewys to work on the desk first so presenters can get a sense of space before moving onto the backboard material. I also have all of my LED strips ready for these elements.

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It was a productive evening and I feel now everything is finally slotting into place after all of the drama leading up to the event. Hopefully come Tuesday the set will be 100% completed, in the meantime I will focus on lighting the subjects until I can continue to contribute to the set design.

Set Design Update

Lewys and I faced some price issues in acquiring the boards for the set design, the main issues coming to transport or extortionate delivery prices pulling us over budget. Thankfully Lewys had spotted some spare flats in the scene dock inside the TV Studio in the UWE Media Centre. Having chased this up these were available to use on a non-destructive basis. After discussion we are still able to make the design work with some minor alterations, thus saving us a huge sum in our budget that can hopefully got towards additional set build elements.

Today Lewys picked up the painting materials so that I was able to provide the first coat of white paint to four of the boards. He has gone ahead building elements of the set whilst I paint several coats of the next few days ready for bringing them into the studio Wednesday. My good friend James Helps (professional set designer) has offered to come down and help us assemble the structure, I am certain his experience is going to be key. I have also requested both my lighting assistants attend so they can start moving the rig around and hopefully we can nail a design down ready for the proceeding week of rehearsals.

I have also gone ahead and purchased four sets of LED strips. As there are four elements to light – ‘Varsity’ acrylic, UWE logo, UOB logo, desk – in the set I felt I should have individual strips and controllers for full creative control (i.e. colour choice). I have seen these before in my parents fish tanks and know they will do the job perfectly.

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Currently we are looking at assembling the set Wednesday 18th. This will definitely be the main structure, hopefully including all elements, but if not we are covered until the following Tuesday morning at the very latest.

Studio Schedule Update

Mike has now informed me Basketball has been cut due to a lack of crew members and lack of time to rehearse. If I had known about this earlier I could have roped in additional crew, he was missing a vision mixer (knew Joe was interested), two cameras (could have asked Nathan, Dan, Josh, Mike, etc) and one sound (potentially Kurt, George or Dan). Even pulling a crew together for Mike last minute he felt it was all too rushed so decided to focus purely on a Match of The Day style review show. A 1 hour broadcast with discussions and VT cutaways.

This new plan of action doesn’t effect my role as lighting designer or overseeing the set construction. As a result I have reworked the studio schedule to accommodate for new deadlines on the scripts, VTs, etc. I have amended it to accommodate for the other Heads of Departments and now have officially released it to the entire production team. I have requested all team members report to their respective heads for queries on precise time as I anticipate people wanting to make some amendments, the important thing is everyone is present for rehearsals on Friday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Crew members have already acknowledged and ‘liked’ the post on Facebook as a form of confirmation and agreement.

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Reflecting upon my role I am now very firmly collaborating with the final set design and construction. Lewys and I have worked closely to develop the concept to the new budget and show style, he is physically constructing it, however when it comes to building it in the studio I will be on hand. I have also managed to secure my good friend and set designer James Helps for Wednesday 18th when we move it into the TV studio. Finally my role has now embodied scheduling the studio, as with most projects my natural ability as a producer has come through to pull things together and organise elements so that the project can continue to progress.

Now set construction is under way and the schedule is set I can look into purchasing the LED strips required. I am happy with adapting my lighting plan for the new set and will play around during set construction day with the lighting rig.

Design Approval & Studio Schedule

The final confirmed funds were £130, the difficulty from Mike (Producer) was getting Minty to release the funds so that we could go ahead. After a good week of Mike constantly asking Minty and being ignored we were really worried we wouldn’t get the money in time. I tried speaking to Minty and managed to get hold of him and thankfully got the money transferred across the Lewys straight away so that he could start with purchasing materials.

Not only has Minty dropped out the project in an unprofessional manner, but the fact he has been keeping distant whenever money is mentioned by Mike does not look good. It’s lucky that I managed to secure the bank transfer so set design can progress. The £130 is exactly enough for the scaled down version of the design Lewys and I reworked so there is no reworking for the design. All other studio members are happy with how it looked so now Lewys will go off and any queries he can always speak to me.

Mike has also requested that I construct a studio schedule in the lead up to broadcast as he is focused on the basketball/UWE Centre for Sport location schedule. Working with Beth I have come up with the following:

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Having run it past the other Heads of Departments I need to make some changes to time to cater to everyones availability. Nevertheless the overall schedule/plan has been accepted by everyone so now the ball can truly get rolling for studio operations.