Monday, March 15, 2010

Live at Five -

So for the Live at Five day, Ryan, Alan, Miguel and myself took on the task of creating...whatever the broadcast journalists wanted us to. Which to be honest, was not a lot.

I took on the role of Producer which basically meant 'tell everyone what do to and make sure they know what they're doing and get them to do it on time'.

We started the day with Pete just telling us what had happened before and what to expect so we could prepare ourselves a bit. We had all started the day with a bit of trepidation as none of us (save maybe Alan) were extremely confident in our After Effects skills. We'd also been coming up with ideas for ambitious title sequences, exploding planets, nuclear fallout, boxing sheep, PIRATE SHIPS, Slow motion wavy Cornish flags and...! But none of that was needed.

It was with a bit of disappointment that we received our instructions to create rain clouds, a map with four town places and still title strips.
My first job was to see what the journalists wanted. To do that we had to visit Chris. Who told me to visit Georgia (for titles) and Ed (for weather) which was easy enough because they were stood right by him. Anyway, they came back to the animation studio and briefed us all on what they wanted.
A map of Cornwall, first with place names then temperatures. A weather chart, and finally title strips.
So I said my thanks and set about assigning my team of animation minions to their jobs. This was easy because I just asked what each would like to do. Alan was the most proficient in the Adobe programes so he got on with the maps. Ryan did the title strips in photoshop and after effects and Miguel got to work with the weather chart in photoshop, then flash, then after effects, then back to flash again, and then back to after effects.

The weather chart was the only problematic task, but we roped in a 3rd year who knew how to create motion graphics in flash and then export them into after effects.

Alan finished his map fairly quickly. We went for a 'def-con' look for the map. It's a game where you try to avert (or start, I'm not really sure) nuclear war, so the map of Cornwall for today turned into a replica of an American war room.
Ryan similarly finished fairly quickly, once he'd had a few stabs at the title strips, I got Georgia back in and she requested that they match more with the title sequence. Neither of us could clearly recall the title sequence so this called for some serious producing work....
I asked Pete if he could show us the title sequence.
He said yeah I'll just get that for you.
Great I said.
20 minutes later we were watching the mpeg file and Ryan could see clearly what to do next. After another hour or so fiddling about with the colours and what not, Georgia popped back in and confirmed her approval.

The journalist students were quite good at popping in and seeing how we were doing, and I vice versa popped in to ask questions like, do you want this to fill the screen or not, do you want this yellow or red. do you want some animation here? (No they'd say)

This was a very graphics based project and we tried to slip in as much animation as we could.
Alan's map made the words fade in and out.
Miguel's cloud actually rained. Which they loved.
Ryan did some cool animation for the title strips but that was rejected.
My job was very stress-free and not too demanding. Everybody got on with the job and I didn't have to step in and help too much. There was a quite good dynamic within the group. Everybody asked each other for help or bounced ideas of each other. And periodically they'd comment on how I didn't seem to be doing much. Get back to work I'd say.

By 1 we had pretty much finished. There was a bit of panic as flash wasn't playing ball with Miguels rain clouds but this was sorted by the previously mentioned 3rd year.

There was some last minute stress (as the day wore on you could see the stress and panic mounting on the journalists faces, they'd come in slightly more out of breath or with a slightly sharper tone to their voice) when we uploaded all work to a memory stick and gave it to the weatherman who apparently abandoned his fellow broadcasters. This is perhaps my fault as I possibly should have given it to the head producer. However the weather man was who they sent to collect the memory stick so that's who I,we, gave it to.

In all the day went very smoothly and we all had a laugh and some fun and it was almost totally stress-free and by half 3 we could kick back and enjoy the rest of the day.
So yeah, thanks to everyone for just getting on with it really.

I enjoyed being a producer. I can see the job as a professional being very stressful and tiring and I'm not sure how keen I am for that but I would like to see what else it involves and look forward to further producing opportunities.

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