As part of our course this semester we have a core practical module in which we will learn some of the practical skills used in the broadcast media. Our first task is to produce some content on geo-engineering using radio, television studios and a portable camera. On top of that, we are required to design an app to complement the subject.

Geo-engineering is the deliberate intervention with nature in order to slow down or counteract global warming, typically the human-induced global warming. It can be divided into two main categories: solar radiation management and carbon dioxide removal. Simply, managing/reducing the amount the sun warms up the Earth, and removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Today we had our chance to have a play in the television studio where we staged a “live interview with a geo-engineering expert”. We took it in turns to be either a director, a member of the camera crew or a contributor. It was great fun to have a all the different roles in the production, and to see just how difficult it is to put a three or four minute interview together.

I had a go at being one of the directors to start with. This involved one of my colleagues and I controlling which cameras were being used at a given time, and providing clear instructions to the camera crew about zooming in/out, where to point the camera etc. It required some very snap decision-making, and a lot of clear instruction giving. The main challenge was to be able to plan ahead: whilst camera 1 was filming a particular shot, we had to make sure that camera 2 set up and for the next frame. This meant that we needed to have a very good idea of what we want the clip to look like. We noticed that it is also important to keep an eye on each individual person and potentially made some last minute changes.

One of us was giving the camera crew instructions, and the other (me) was changing which camera was recording. At one point my colleague gave an instruction to camera 1, and I automatically pressed the camera 1 button. This meant that I changed to frame when I shouldn’t have. You need to have very fast reactions in this game to get the film you want.

Next we had a go at being the contributors. I acted as the interviewer, and my partner was the interviewee, pretending to be a geo-engineering expert. Although I didn’t have an earpiece in through which I could hear all that was going on “behind the scenes”, it was still difficult to block out all that was going on in the room, focus on the answers that were given, and get the questions right. We had a script to follow which made that quite easy, but I can imagine that if this was a live, unscripted interview it would be much harder to focus on getting the questions right!

Lastly we had a go with the cameras. We had a very good director, who was on the ball and had all the shots pre-planned and ready to go. Getting the focus right and having the right picture was relatively easy. And as long as you did as you were told, you were pretty safe! Camera 1 was focussed on the interviewer, and camera 2 had a wide-angle option and the opportunity to zoom in on the interviewee.

Learning by doing is definitely an amazing way to pick up how to use this equipment easily. By having enough time for each pair to have a go at each section we learned from each other as well. My favourite part was the directing. It was definitely the biggest challenge as there was so much to take into consideration. I hope to have another go at some point during another practical assignment. Overall, it was great fun, and I’m very much looking forward to seeing the end result.

Go to the orginal article here or listen below