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Trickbox TV Answers Broadcast SOS

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Back in August, Trickbox received an SOS from Nick Parry, a freelance multi-camera director who specialises in live TV and who's also a visiting lecturer at London's University of Westminster, explains Liam Laminman, Managing Director, Trickbox TV.

Throughout the year, Nick runs two-day intensive "How to Direct Music for TV" master classes with Chinese delegates at the University's China Media Centre. The courses are usually held in the centre's studio but on this occasion the studio was undergoing some critical maintenance and wasn't available, hence the SOS.

Nick says: "I phoned around some studios and got quotes but they were outside the budget, so I called Liam Laminman, Trickbox TV's Managing Director. I told him that I needed a full outside broadcast facility for a live music multi-camera directing course and gave him the budget. What's delightful about Liam is he's very honest; I spoke to him on Friday and he said he thought Trickbox would be able to do it. He then called me back early on the Monday morning and said Trickbox would indeed provide all the kit and the crew within my budget, and by Tuesday we were rigging it. He and the Trickbox team worked to a phenomenal time scale."

Trickbox supplied full broadcast OB facilities with four Sony HDC-1500 fibre camera channels with Canon HJ lenses and Osprey Elite pedestals. The courses run at the China Media Centre are for working Chinese TV professionals who want to come to the UK to learn how TV is produced in the West. It was essential that Nick source a full broadcast OB facility so that delegates would be learning in a real-world environment.

Nick says: "In the west, our production standards are different. In the UK there is more emphasis on pre-planning productions and so we focus on teaching delegates how to plan to maximise the time and resources available. It's all about being cost-effective and creative in production, those are the key elements."

For each course, delegates work with a live band. They know in advance the type of music that the band is going to perform, the tracks that they will play and the camera scripting. They then recreate their camera scripts in the studio with the band using the four Sony HDC-1500 cameras supplied by Trickbox. The delegates provide all the technical roles directing and operating the cameras.

Nick explains: "It's a two-fold course; it's about pre-planning and then delivery. A good example of the type of show that the delegates direct is Later with Jools Holland, that's the model that we work to. We use the same number of cameras and the same production techniques, teaching the Chinese delegates how that show is created."

The delegates spend between four and six weeks in the UK depending on the budget and the nature of the course that their employer sends them on. During that time, they also work with very senior UK producers to develop programme ideas.

This wasn't the first time that Nick and Liam's paths crossed. Nick explains: "I first worked with Trickbox in 2011 when Liam supplied a flyaway solution, as he did on this occasion, for a career retrospective of Sir David Attenborough, which was shot at the Members' Library at the Science Museum. He did an outstanding job. Our paths didn't cross again until last year when we worked together on a Brexit Debate for Facebook along with broadcast sound company, Sound Credit and that reminded me how good Liam and his team are. I'm very glad that I asked him for help on this job. He pulled this out the bag very quickly and to a budget that suited our requirements."

This article also features in the November edition of Broadcast Film & Video.

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