BBC Introducing John Ford - Head of Film by John Ford, Head of Film

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When the BBC asked us if we could shoot, edit, grade and deliver 6 films in 36 hours I think we all had a little *gulp* moment… But never shy of a challenge, the Contra video team rose to the task, resulting in a fantastic suite of live performance films for the BBC Introducing website.

For anyone not in the radio-loop, BBC Introducing is the brand for new music programming across all BBC stations; since 2007 it has been successfully launching unsigned talent into the mainstream spotlight.

The brief was to film six of these acts at a BBC Radio 2 live event in Hyde Park last weekend.

Our challenge?

…to surpass their expectations by matching the live broadcast quality of their higher budget films with a smaller pot of cash at our disposal.

So here’s how we chose to set up our five C300s:

Shoot Floorplan (1)

Ⓒ Production manager and design enthusiast James Brown

After negotiating with the event organisers we managed to wangle a raised platform for our front of house camera, as well as the go-ahead to lay down 7.5 metres of track in front of the stage (both without any additional costs). The lucky C300 on the track had the pleasure of being united with the Fujinon Cabrio 19-90mm, giving us a beautiful motorised zoom tracking shot to play with. High production value at an affordable rate!

John, perched on a Keywest dolly, had a hard time resisting the temptation to bop along to the folky beats

maxMax, raised on his platform in the crowd, spent the majority of his day running a slightly confused ‘tourist information’ service

20140914_163349_resizedIntense (frequently food or camera based) discussion in-between bands 

Lacking the necessary budget to hire in an OB truck with a live vision mixer, our post-production plan had to be well thought through in order to meet the BBC’s tight turnaround request.

On wrap, the rushes sped across the Central Line and down to the Contra office in Greenwich to be met by junior editor Wil. One night shift (a few cans of ‘Monster’ and a multipack of Kit-Kats) later, we had rough cuts of all six films before the sun was up. Cue senior editor Will who rolled in nice and early to tidy everything up, cover all the shaky bits with happy-clappy cutaways, polish the footage with a subtle grade and export six fantastic looking films for approval before his lunchtime salad.

20140914_212751_resizedThe multi-cam edit function on Premier proved to be very useful – syncing up all of our footage with the live audio track in one click

BBC Introducing were very happy with how it all looked and even more impressed with the speedy turnaround at such an affordable cost. After a few amends to each edit in the afternoon and some high-res exporting, the final films were delivered and up on the BBC website that evening. Here’s to the next challenge!

Joe Dolman – ‘Lost’

The Buffalo Skinners – ‘He’s Troubled’

View the whole suite of films on the BBC Introducing Youtube page here.

John Ford - Head of Film by John Ford, Head of Film
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