Written by Alan Brett Category: Training
Published on 17 January 2008

A big attraction for many people joining Harefield Hospital Television is the quality of the training we provide. Some of our experts are not simply Media professionals but real-life trainers too. We can provide top trainers and the same courses that the broadcasting industry uses.

Our latest training day was on the theme of "Shoot To Edit". We were in the safe hands of the two Simons: Simon Fox, TV Production Specialist for BBC Training and Development, together with Simon Lloyd, Technical Instructor for BBC Journalist Training.

I was one of the six trainees that day and Simon Fox explained this was not a technical course on exposure, white balance and so forth - that would be dealt with on a camera course. The day was about how to shoot basic sequences that would look good and, just as important, would edit together satisfactorily.

Different types of shots were explained to us and the mysteries of the BCU and mid shot made clear. As was the important concept of "crossing the line" - and why and how not to do it.

We were paired off into three groups and each provided with a DVCAM format camcorder. Our instructions were to shoot a short sequence of our choice, comprising five types of shot. They had to de done in a specific order, lasting ten seconds each, with the last shot being something creative.

My training partner Howard Cramer, using a laptop computer, was the subject of our sequence,. My creative shot was from behind Howard's head - a Big Close Up looking through his spectacle lens. I saw this same shot used in a TV documentary a few days later!

A little later, all the sequences by each team were played back to us all, for some constructive criticism. The work that Howard and I had done seemed to be well received. Time for lunch - hospital canteen sandwiches and coffee. Not bad actually.

Afterwards we had to shoot another short sequence of our own choosing. This time the shots could be done in any order and they would be edited together by one of the Simons. After a bit of brainstorming by Howard and me, we tossed a coin and fortunately his much more creative plan won.

Simon Lloyd played the part for us of an uneasy politician / BBC upper management person sweating (literally) over an interview. I played the off camera Paxman type role. Thanks to brilliant acting from Simon and direction by Howard it seemed to go well. A sneaky playback session revealed a problem though.

I should have provided another microphone for my Paxman questions, rather than relying on the tie clip one worn by Simon. Fortunately I've been coming to HHTV long enough to know that I could re-record the questions afterwards. My acting didn't improve though!

Simon Lloyd was also our editor. He dealt with the sound problem, together with another technical issue I landed him with. Both Simons are very familiar with the Final Cut Pro editing system much used in the Industry. Others in HHTV have experience with Premiere 6.5.

Our sequence seemed to cut together well. Now it was show time! All three sequences were shown to us all. Again many valuable comments and suggestions were made. All in all, a great time was had by all. I would certainly recommend it to others. Further training days on a variety of subjects are in the pipeline.

The picture above shows, left to right, Cherrie Hilton, Simon Fox, Marianne From, Simon Lloyd and Darrin Reeves. Stephen Norris and I are not in this shot, photographed by Howard Cramer.

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