For the last few years we’ve participated in the University of Kent’s Employability Points scheme, offering a two-week work experience placement to one successful candidate. This year we welcomed Buauna Ball to join us for the summer, here’s his diary.
Published: August 2022
Having previously been on track for a career in the business side of the music industry, I only started to teach myself the art of video production in the autumn of 2021. This year I felt I was at a point where I really needed to be ‘in the room’ with a video production company to really accelerate my learning. I was invited to join Founder & Creative Director Tom Chown on location to help film one of their Day in the Life pieces of branded content for Stagecoach South East.
Tom showed me how to set up the lights, and displayed the importance of set dressing, even if you don’t have full control of the location. Assisting with gathering sound for the interview I boomed the microphone, and gained a new appreciation for sound operators, and the hell their arms go through! I spent the next day shadowing post-production in the edit suite, watching the footage we captured being edited and woven together to create a cohesive storyline. Most interesting to me was watching the colour grade, turning desaturated Log footage into the full-bodied colour you see when the video is delivered to the client. We also spent that afternoon going through logistics for the following weeks location filming in the Midlands.
We set off to Kettering for the first of 3 locations to film a bus driver recruitment video for Stagecoach Midlands. I got a grasp of what was required at different points in the day, and tried to work proactively to keep the production running smoothly. My duties included lens swapping and cleaning, kit caddying, and capturing some insightful ‘behind the scenes’ photos. I learnt that coverage is king, watching Tom film shots from all ever so slightly differing angles. You never know what can happen during a take though so having enough good footage to cover the literal bumps in the road as we drove along, is absolutely essential. Possibly my favourite moment was watching our interviewee driver greet and be greeted by name by members of the public as if they were all close friends.
Returning to Tunbridge Wells for a very busy Thursday I spent the morning tackling the sync pull and putting into practise the keyboard shortcuts and efficiencies I’d gleaned from watching the past week. The next day we were due to film the Kent Press and Broadcast Awards in Canterbury, which Digitom sponsors, but we had the unfortunate news that our camera operator had tested positive for Covid-19. Having spent the last week and half watching Tom filming he asked me if I’d be comfortable stepping up to the challenge of gathering the live event the following day. The irony did not escape me that I was about to go film an awards ceremony for people in media, as one of the least experienced people in the room.
Filming the KPBAs really taught me to be prepared for anything. With some changes to the schedule throughout the day, being adaptable was key. I ended up throwing the camera on my shoulder some of the time, and just embodying the spirit of a tripod as much as I could. Shadowing the subsequent edit I assisted with building the graphics sequences and learnt the importance of media management; something I will absolutely be implementing myself from now on.
I really feel I’ve met my goal of learning by ‘being in the room’. There really is only so much that University, reading articles and watching YouTube can teach you, before you can find a production company willing to teach you the fine details of film making. A massive thank you goes to the Employability Points Team at the University of Kent for facilitating these kinds of opportunities for students to learn in the real world. An even bigger thank you goes to Tom for giving me this opportunity, the knowledge he has imparted onto me, and his teaching style of treating you as a colleague.