Divide the studio roles among a team to produce a short interview using a single camera at various angles. Edit the footage to give the impression of a multi-camera piece.
Welcome to Trent In The Morning, the imaginary university TV show and cheeky cultural reference to the situational comedy Community (2009-2015). For several members of the team this was the first time they had been confronted with some of the roles & equipment but despite the steep collective learning curve we were able to produce consistent results.
My role was Director, immediately revealing to me that ‘reluctant leader’ is a part that I find difficult to resist. Coordinating the different roles while maintaining a vision of the finished product required a level of multi-tasking focus that I find highly motivating. This is helpful as you also need that energy to set the tone on set so that everyone is confident in their expectations. The other duties that we were asked to consider and which I needed to coordinate (some people ended up with more than one duty, it is worth noting) were:
- Camera Operator – as well as the physical operation of the camera on its stand, we discussed a number of potential angles which would be mapped out in a sketch to refer to later, I also made sure they conferred with the lighting designer to make sure their ideas were compatible.
- Lighting Designer – in discussion we agreed on a traditional 3-point lighting approach. I suggested reflecting some light from the glass window, which we were unable to cover, in order to obscure any potential distractions in the background.
- Sound Recordist – sound was recorded on a portable device with a shotgun mic on a boom. The team member responsible experimented to find the best position and checked with the camera operator regularly for frame boundaries.
- Producer/PA – in our team also the clapper operator, curated all of the files being produced so they were easy to work with during the edit process. As everyone created their own edit, this was also an involved role.
- Design Team – our group worked well cooperatively on a number of creative elements, but leaving the final say on set/costume design to a single person was evidently the easiest way to ensure the continuity with which they were charged.
As an introduction to studio filming techniques, this exercise had a good balance of challenge and careful limitation, giving me a lasting reminder that our Scale-Up seminars not only give context to industry practice but also other insight. In this instance; the occasional possibility or necessity to scale down and the effects of those decisions.