What do you mean by
At the simplest level, it
includes the provision of any of the services or equipment listed here, but
ideally it involves a more holistic approach.
One of the problems with traditional production methods
was the narrow demarcation of individual jobs, particularly between shooting
and post-production. Cameramen and Sound Recordists, however skilled, rarely
had to edit their own material. Post-production workers rarely went on
location. This can leave editors moaning about the quality of material
supplied, and location crews thinking that editors are not making the
best use of what they've been given.
The one thing that nearly everyone can agree on is the need for
planning, and that the majority of production problems come from the
lack of it.
My concept of Production Support is that it should start
as early in the production process as possible, and continue through for as
far as possible. Flattering though it may be to be called in to rescue a
potential disaster, most of us would be just as happy to help avoid one in
the first place.
For example, the quality of video on the web can be more
dependent on shot choice and shooting style, than the technical differences
between different encoding formats.
So whatever assistance you require, be it a single
specialist service or piece of kit, through to producing a complete
programme segment, the more involvement you give me, the better the job I can do
Acting as "lighting sound recordist" on a low-budget TV commercial
Because my recent move back towards
doing more production work was triggered by a request to carry out the
"broadcast mastering" for a series of six half-hour regional programmes
shot on DV-CAM, and edited with Adobe Premiere Pro.
The series was successfully
re-commissioned and a further eight programmes were produced last year,
only this time my role extended to the location sound recording as well,
partly as a result of my complaints about the recorded sound quality on
the first series.
I've also mastered to DigiBeta a few
commercials, shows for Men & Motors, and ten episodes (the second
series) of Locks & Quays for Discovery, all of which were shot on DV. So
preparing DV for broadcast is one specific service I can offer.
On a broader note, the name means that
I can cover all genres and quality levels from what is associated with
DV at a semi-pro level, right though to the more traditional levels of
Some of my monitoring equipment
Always welcome! My
personal job satisfaction comes from achieving good results, no matter
who the audience is going to be.
I keep mentioning my
broadcast work because that's how I was trained, and I always approach
every job with those techniques in mind.
Video programmes are such that the
end result will always expose the weakest link in the production
process. Talent and luck can give you the high points, but it's care, or
lack of it, which usually dictates the lows.
unusable material can ultimately save time and money. Even broadcasters
have budget restrictions, but the key to delivering value-for-money is
knowing how to get the most out of what you've got to work with. It
often takes no more time and effort to apply those same broadcast
standards to every job.
My personal edict on
getting good recordings is not to hit the Record button unless you're
pretty sure you're getting what you want, and then to hit the Stop
button if you're not. If something isn't right, don't just carry on, try
to change it. If anyone makes a mistake, do it again. It's obvious
really; you just have to do it!
The Art of Good Sound - when to say "No"
Who are you?
I'm Martin Kay, and I've been
involved with television in one form or another since I joined Granada TV in
1973. Alongside my TV job I've also been working with computers since 1979 when I bought my first computer
(in kit form) whilst on a shoot for World In Action in the USA.
I served my GTV apprenticeship as a studio
sound engineer, then moved to film as a Boom Operator and was promoted to a
full Sound Recordist in 1980. I've worked on every type of programme from news, sport,
current affairs, music and the arts, through to dramas of every genre,
including an 18 month stint on The Jewel In The Crown (for which I got a
BAFTA nomination )
After 20yrs in the front line of programme
acquisition, I left Granada to concentrate on my computer interests, with
the focus on video-related applications. This coincided with the emergence
of desktop video (capture & editing), and through ZEN Computer Services I've
been building and supporting NLE & computer/video systems for over 10yrs.
Now, having had a break from production,
and with my extended range of skills and experience, I'm keen to put it all
together into a multi-skilled role encompassing all areas of video
production. I've done a few broadcast jobs in the last few years, on
location (doing sound) and in post production (online editing, grading &
audio dubbing) and it's whetted my appetite for more!
TV work includes...
|Whilst at Granada '73-'93:-
All for Love
Bulman (Don Henderson)
Celebration (local arts)
Down to Earth
Ewan MacColl (a profile)
Green Life Guide
Home Front (Ray Gosling)
In Suspicious Circumstances
It was 20yrs ago today (Sgt Pepper)
Jewel in the Crown
Laurence Olivier Presents
My Father's House
Secret Orchards of Roger Ackerley
September Song (Russ Abbott)
Shang-a-lang (yes, I was there...)
Sherlock Holmes (Jeremy Brett)
So It Goes (with Tony Wilson)
Spike Milligan (a profile)
The Christians (Bamber Gascoyne)
This England (various)
World in Action (various)
...and many others, not forgetting
Granada Reports (local news) - with Bob Greaves, Brian Trueman, Tony Wilson, Gordon Burns, Anna
Ford, Bob Smithies, Richard & Judy (before they were "Richard & Judy"),
Fred Talbot and many more.
Memorable moment -
Spending a night in Toxteth during the 1981 riots.
Granada were about as popular as
the police and we got a brick through our Volvo's window as we were
arriving shortly after midnight. For much of the night we were right behind the police
front lines as the petrol bombs came flying over. As it got light
the crowds dispersed and we surveyed the damage. There was a long
line of police Transit vans
all along Upper Parliament Street, and not one had its
windscreen intact. It was not long after this that they installed
the protective slide-down mesh screens which you see today.
Computer programming '87-'99:-
on dramas, for computers as props
A Touch of Frost
Game Set & Match
The Cloning of Joanna May
scoring for sports & game shows
Granada Rugby League
The Krypton Factor
subtitling software used on
Disappearing World (ITV)
Great Railway Journeys (BBC)
World in Action (ITV)
What can you offer?
Given the amount of low-cost
technology available today, there's never been a better time for
getting high-quality results from small-scale TV production, but only if:-
1) you know how to use it!
2) there's not any "missing links".
That's where I come in. I can be a
consultant, contributor, supplier and operator, all on the same job. I offer
true multi-skilling, not because I'm fresh from a multi-discipline media
course, but because of a lifetime of actual work experience in a variety of
areas, coupled with a high degree of technical knowledge.
The areas I cover include:-
Sound Recording (for docs, drama, music, location or studio)
Video Encoding (eg for the web)
A/V Engineering (eg wiring design)
Image Processing (in Photoshop)
Video Editing (Avid, Premiere, etc)
PC Servicing & Setup
Navigating (without SatNav!)
Picture Grading (in Avid or Premiere)
I have collected a whole variety of kit
over the years (including everything pictured above) which can be hired as
part of the package. This includes camera & sound shooting kit, editing &
monitoring, and lots of converters & adaptors for connecting things together.
Here's some of it -
Edit Kit - Avid Xpress Pro with
SDI Mojo, Adobe Premiere Pro with RTX2/100 & Decklink hardware
Lights - 1KW & 300/500W fresnels, 650/800W Red-heads & stands. 3Channel
Camera kit - Sony PDX10, DSR130 &
DXC325 cameras, Heiwa 650 & Libec H80 tripods, Canon J14x8, Fuji 14x9 & 7x7
Sound kit - SQN 3M & 4S, AD145 mixers, DT48 cans,
Audio & Micron Radio Mics, 416 gun mics, Rycote windgags, Panamic poles, EMC
77, AKG D25 & C451 mics, stands, cables, PPM meter boxes
Office space To Let - 1050sq ft on the first floor
of our building
(more info here)
I have my
own commercial premises on a secure modern office park in Salford Quays
(near the new BBC Media City site), in which I have my PC workshop and
edit suite. There is also space for small-scale studio recording for things
like interviews, voice-over recording and presenting to camera (with
green-screen background & autocue).
Phone 0161 736 5300
For editing systems, computer/video hardware & software, see
Used kit in the
Car Boot Sale
I've stayed in touch with some of my Granada
colleagues and can help put together a complete crew.
In particular, I've recently worked with
cameraman Lawrence Jones, who also worked on The Jewel In The Crown, but
more recently has been getting D.O.P. credits on TV dramas such as:-
Born and Bred
Dalziel and Pascoe
My Beautiful Son
Playing the Field
We would both welcome the opportunity to
work together again, and Lawrence brings with him an impressive range of
contacts, from top actors to specialist service providers. No matter
what your production requirement, there's a fair chance that between us
we'll know how to achieve it.