Behind the Scenes with BBC Sport

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Having been with BBC Sport in Salford for just under 12 months, I recently completed by first project for the TV Sports News team and I thought it would be a great chance to give you a little behind the scenes look at what goes on filming with BBC Sport…

For a little background to the story, see: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/hockey/31971743

PRE-PRODUCTION

Having covered the story in depth during my time at BBC Radio Kent, I pitched the idea to the producer of Saturday Sportsday Ian Kemp.

He then weighed up whether or not any similar stories had been covered on the show before, the validity and likely wider news interest in the story. He also had to consider when any piece would likely be broadcaster given constraints with the Six Nations and other pieces that had already been commissioned.

Once I’d been given the green light, I made contact with the relevant parties to see if they would get on board with the project.

Similarly, Ian, myself and presenter Katie Gornall had a couple of conference calls to assess what exactly we would need in terms of filming and interviews, chatting around the crux of the story itself and general logistics of our demands. I was extremely fortunate to have Katie working with me as she invested heavily her own time and research to fully understand the debate at hand.Camerman Steve Holloway filming at East Grinstead Hockey Club

Once we were all on the same page, I went back to all the different parties to nail down exact timings and topics, so they were fully briefed on the likely topics to be discussed so they could be fully prepared too.

Unfortunately a week before filming, one of our interviewees pulled out, but fortunately Katie was straight on the case fixing a replacement. Teamwork!

One of the most important aspects we had to consider in the planning stage was cost. My job was to sort timings, transport and content to ensure we could get the maximum amount of the day. It also included getting our colleague Nick Hope to conduct one of the interviews for us the week before at the All England Badminton Championship in Birmingham!

FILMING

Our filming began around 0900 at East Grinstead. When Katie and I arrived, our outstanding cameraman Steve had already setup and started getting some shots.

We all introduced ourselves to EG chairman Simon Longhurst and Alice and Alicia from the women’s side who we would be interviewing. It’s really important to spend a good chunk of time before any interviews just chatting with any interviewees to make them relaxed and so you can get some key information that you can include in any questions in the interviews.

Katie Gornall speaking to East Grinstead chairman Simon LonghurstDespite the final piece being around 2m45s long, Katie interviews Simon and the girls for around 15 minutes each, whilst I act as both reflector board holder and listener to the good lines. At the end of the interviews, Katie checks with me that I’m happy and where necessary, I suggest a couple of extra questions or ask to redo any where there may have been a stutter or a noise in the background that might make the original answer unusable.

Next Katie and I agree on her pieces to camera and roughly how we want it to look and what she should say. I leave her to script her own pieces and discuss other shots that we’ll need from Steve.

Before leaving EG, we make sure we’re all 100% happy with all the filming. I make sure I’m taking a good variety of pictures too, in order to formulate the online piece later on. Truly multimedia!

After a quick lunch stop, it’s onto Holcombe Hockey Club, where we are greeted by the club’s chairman David South, our main subject of the piece.

Upon arrival, cameraman Steve sets about looking at potential filming locations and we agree our filming plans with David and what we can and cannot do and can and cannot film. Fortunately, the club were hugely accommodating and allowed us near free reign.

Due to the players’ strict schedule, we interview Barry Middleton before the game and sit down with David straight afterwards too. Again, I act as reflector holder, listen to the strong lines and add in my thoughts on shots and questions afterwards. We narrowly avoided a soaking from the water jets at the end of the preceding game!Katie Gornall with England captain Barry Middleton

The rest of our time at the club is filming more cutaways and different shots to be used in the piece. Steve goes crazy with go-pros and arty shots and Katie and I offer some direction as to what we’ll definitively need in the final piece.

The main drawback of filming sport is not knowing when the key moments will happen so you generally have to film the whole game for hope of capturing a goal. Luckily Holcombe won 9-1 so we had a little more flexibility.

POST PRODUCTION

Before I ever begin editing the footage, I conducted a separate radio interview with Sally Munday, Chief Executive of England Hockey for the online piece. It was agreed in pre-production that we wouldn’t need her for the TV piece and her schedule didn’t allow us to film as it was but her insight was extremely useful.

My first job is transcribing all the interviews. This serves two purposes. One, with Katie out of the office on other shoots for a lot of the time, it allows me to send IMG_6844her the key lines to add her views on what she’d like included in the final piece. Secondly, it allows me to copy and paste when writing the online piece, rather than having to sift back through the audio for the exact wording.

I then spend an entire day on a pre-edit. This involves going through all of the raw footage and clipping up nice shots, interviews and then laying down a rough edit. I also script the piece at this stage, add some music that Katie wants and create a compilation with my voice underneath to give Katie and Ian a sense of what the final edit will look like.

The initial edit was around 4m30s long, naturally too long for the completed piece but a good starting point. Just like writing an essay, it’s much easier to trim down words than scrabble to make up content.Katie Gornall providing the voiceover for the final edit

I then get together with Katie and together we go over the script, the clips and the shots to try to trim down the whole piece and get the right balance that we’re after.

Once Katie has scripted her words and revoiced it, I will stick it all together and show the programme producer Ian Kemp, and David Eyres, who is outputting the show on the Saturday. They both suggest a few tweaks to improve it which are undertaken before the craft editor has the final edit sorted.

They will tidy up the audio, and in this case, and a fancy ending to the edit and “grade” the pictures, giving it a nice artistic finish.

We also then have to do a few admin jobs like registering music, sending scripts to be subtitled and creating a few other shorts for the TV screens in the studio and that’s how one 150 second video goes from an idea in my head to the TV screens nationwide!