(NFTS Cameras, Sound & Vision Mixing students on the Thronecast set, L-R: Sean McDonald, Briony Dowson, Laura Jeacocke, Henry Young)
This year’s Cameras, Sound and Vision Mixing for Television Production Diploma students have been lucky enough to work on Game of Thrones after show, Thronecast as part of their annual work placements at Sky who are official course partners.
Sky’s Camera Team Leader, CJ Brown explained what the camera students had been learning in addition to helping out on programmes like Thronecast, The Pledge, Sky News, Sky Sports News and more: “The students have been learning how to strip down and rebuild a big box lens camera. We’ve gone through the kinds of shots used on Thronecast, which include MCU (medium close up) and big wide shots as well as panning and tracking. They have also been resizing shots and going from a single to a two shot. They have experienced cleaning fibre optic cables, how to ‘8’ up a cable as well as fault finding and rigging. They have been working on Thronecast rehearsals and live shows cable bashing and some have experienced using Radamec studio and support equipment and/ or handheld cameras on live programmes such as the news.”
We met with some of the students to find out more:
What have you enjoyed the most about your work experience at Sky?
Henry (Camera student): “I’ve enjoyed working as part of a large team of people - almost every day I’ve been at Sky I’ve met someone new, whether that be from camera operators, floor managers, technical directors… the list goes on. Everyone has been incredibly supportive and inclusive, making us forget that we’re only there on a work placement! Being part of the team which puts a show on air - a show which might be one of the highlights of the year for some people watching - is an exciting feeling which I certainly thrive on.”
(Emily Bailey, Vision Mixing student)
Emily (Vision Mixing student) has worked on a range of Sky programmes including Soccer Saturday, Asia Trophy Football, Sky Sports News, The Pledge, Euro Tour Golf, PGA Golf and Rugby League Catalans: “I've really enjoyed the opportunities I've had to gain practical hands-on experience cutting some of the shows I have been trailing and putting what I have learnt at NFTS into practice.”
Laura (Camera student): “The placement at Sky has been such an invaluable opportunity that's given us the chance to crew on live productions and be part of such a renowned organisation. Working with all the staff/freelancers as part of their crew has been great fun and I've learnt so much, both about camerwork itself and the production of the shows in general whilst there. My mentor Lucy has been such an inspiration and a huge help in developing my skills and understanding of camera operating.”
(Students with Sky's Camera Team Leader, CJ Brown)
What have been the highlights?
Emily (Vision Mixing student): “Practical hands on experience on the desk - I've particularly enjoyed working on and trailing Sky Sports News, The Pledge and Euro Tour Golf. It's also been fantastic to meet and network with Sky employees and gain insight into broadcast operations there.”
Laura (Camera student): “My highlights would have to be live operating on the Golf chats, working on Thronecast and all the time we got to spend rigging/de-rigging!”
Henry (Camera student): “Some of the highlights for me include working on the Game of Thrones magazine show, Thronecast, which is recorded live in front of a studio audience. I also really enjoy working in News, controlling robotic cameras on the other side of the site (or even in a studio in central London). Knowing that there are tens of thousands of people watching an interview you’ve framed up is a confidence-filling feeling. I also really enjoyed working as a jib assistant on the studio segments surrounding the Super Rugby final, and operating one of the cameras in the studio during the Euro Tour Golf coverage.”
(Thronecast presenter, Sue Perkins)
How has the NFTS Diploma been so far?
Laura (Camera student): “The NFTS Diploma has been better than I could've hoped for. Considering about 7 months ago none of us knew how to operate a ped (which requires a completely different skillset to cameras on sticks), whereas now we're operating on live programmes and crewing NFTS graduation TV shows. It's been such a fantastic learning curve. The technical knowledge we studied at the beginning has been the foundation for all our camerawork and was completely invaluable to learn. Our industry recognised camera tutors have taught us everything we know and guided us through, from our very first steps on the ped to the dynamic developing shots we can explore now. The single-camera/PSC side has also been great fun, a completely different skill but equally creative and something which, with the help of the course, I will definitely be exploring further. The facilities and equipment we have access to is of the highest standard (Vinten Quattro peds, Sony HDC4300s, 4K studio) and provides an amazing classroom for us, getting us completely industry-ready.”
Henry (Camera student): “The NFTS Diploma has been an incredible experience - working on the summer multicamera shows (which are directed and produced by the TV Entertainment students) was a great opportunity to work as camera operators on five very different shows in just a couple of weeks. I’m really looking forward to working on a number of the graduation projects by the second year TV Entertainment students in September, along with a placement at BBC Elstree.”
Emily (Vision Mixing student): “I've really enjoyed the Diploma so far - it has been invaluable for learning technical skills with state-of-the-art equipment and having support from talented and experienced tutors. I've enjoyed how varied it has been as we have worked on a diverse range of live TV genres and it has helped me to work out what my interests are and to develop different strategies for working on different shows.“
What are you hoping to do when you graduate?
Emily (Vision Mixing student): “I'm hoping to find work as a Vision Mixer at a UK broadcaster.”
Henry (Camera student): “After I graduate, I’m hoping to go into studio camerawork (initially as an assistant). Whilst the course teaches us the skills to work in both studio, outside broadcast and location camerawork, studio work is my favourite due to the wide range of programming you get to work on - from music, to cookery, to news, and everything in-between.”
Laura (Camera student): “Upon graduating I'll most likely be entering the freelance world where I'll be looking to focus my work around on location PSC/OB shoots, whilst also hopefully getting involved with as many studio shoots as I can.”
If you would like to follow in our students’ footsteps, apply for the Cameras, Sound and Vision Mixing Diploma by the 23rd november to start in January – www.nfts.co.uk/camerassound&visionmixing