Boom Operating

So I briefly discussed in my catch-up blog how I have been doing some exciting work in the last few months. I have been very lucky in seeing and being part of a full budgeted production as well as a budget production. I got to see the differences in their working styles and I also learned the important and valid lesson that you need to get on with your job quietly.

The first piece of work was for a low budget film for the Television Workshop and an adaptation of the play Othello and my role was in sound. I learned a number of lessons on this 5 day shoot and editing process. Well first of all because it was a low budget production I had to use University equipment. So here are the lessons for working on a budget film.

Lesson 1


Unfortunately everyone, and that includes first year students who can be a bit clueless, get to handle the equipment. Fortunately I am a massive paranoid freak and over-booked, however even with my over-booking things still went wrong, especially on a cold night shoot on a beach. Yes, sand and cold air do not mix well with audio equipment. You learn that you have to think quickly. I came prepared with massive amounts of batteries and spare zoom H1 as emergency back-up.

Lesson 2


Yes, a key lesson when you study something like audio and all your roles are in audio you get told a lot how important audio is. Speak up if something is wrong and something needs doing again because there was a band during that line. Actually I learned fairly quickly that while my role was important the Director and Producer on this shoot cared more about lights and camera which is fair enough with it being their film. So I kept quiet, got as close as I could and most importantly kept out the way. Of course when there were big issues I spoke up and things were redone but for the smaller things I just kept quiet.

Lesson 3


Yes, this one is key. You will receive very last minute calls regarding instructions and notes for an edit you asked for about a week ago, and it needs to be handed over the next day. My advice? Coffee and a deep breath. People are busy and take time to get back to you and are consumed by their film. Also a series of jobs have to be done before they get to yours, so just be prepared for the last minute editing calls.

So, next is a full budgeted production. I got to work as a runner on a BBC R&D production as well as helping on their sound design. People like the BBC get students to work on films knowing they are not paying them. so they like to have a few perks. They had already asked for my help in the sound post so knew my passion for sound and allowed me to work with the Boom Op and Sound Recordist on the shoot. You learn very quickly that you’re playing with the big boys now and everything you have done before can hardly compare. However, you see the same things as on a low budget – equipment breaking or something going wrong, sound being rushed to get a job done quickly and again your schedule doesn’t mean that much.

Both experiences have taught me a lot. I guess that is why they call it work experience – you learn on the job and you quickly work it out. It’s not like Uni or school where you can email the tutor and say something went wrong. It is real life.



So a little later than when the series finished but a catch-up on how wrong or right I was about Broadchurch.

Well the whole Joe Miller trial was actually rather disappointing. No secrets, nothing more about Danny Latimer’s death, at moments it was tense but I honestly didn’t see the need in bringing the case up again if nothing new would come of it. The only interesting part was him being freed, and the whole village grouping together and kicking him out. Perhaps the reason behind showing the village getting together in this way was some sort of message to the Justice system. It showed what could be achieved by not using violence. That said it could have easily been cleared up in the last series or a couple of episodes into this series.

Now to the Sandbrook case. So, lots of secrets and 3 murderers. So my first instinct was kind of right. Claire is the one who killed Pippa and Lee hid it and then we have Ricky, Pippa’s dad, who killed Lisa. I must say this was an incredibly tense and clever series full of twists and turns. I may have said in my previous blog that both Claire and Lee would be too obvious to be the killers, however, the way in which this was presented we can push that thought aside. I would even go as far to say that the Sandbrook case was more tense and emotionally pent up than Danny Latimer’s; this was partly due to the fact that Alec was at death’s door and this was possibly going to be the case that could kill him. A desperate man seeking answers and getting it wrong is dangerous for all.

So, a third series? I can’t work out my feelings. While I love Ellie and Alec on screen together and think they are a brilliant team, I am not sure another series is right. It would have to be completely different, taking us to another village with more secrets. But then is it too obvious to just have a new town with new secrets? I will leave them to it and assume they have a master plan up their sleeve.

Now to the American series. I won’t lie, I haven’t watched it. I personally don’t see the point. Part of what I love about Broadchurch is that this is a British series, with a British production team and British actors and this all works. Why rock the boat when the format and team works?


Here is a link to my previous Broadchurch post.

Catch up

So a little catch up…….. When starting the new University term in February my first week back was the usual – lots of talk about what the new term has in store. I had spent my whole Christmas holidays reading up on the subjects and was excited to get started. I was speaking to my friend on the sister-course to mine and she told me they were working with clients and making a film for them, as well as doing a post-piece. I thought long and hard after a tutor on my course told me they had no contacts available for work experience. I was finding it difficult to gain any contacts on my own, and I began to realise I was going to leave my course with 4 essays and one Audio post-piece and little real world experience. After speaking to my tutor I made the move to the course Visual and Audio Social Technologies. Yeah, a long name. I still get to specialise and focus my studies on Audio but I now come out of University with 3 pieces of work of which I am proud as well as the experience of working with a client and some very exciting work experience.

A major benefit of changing courses was that they have more connections outside the University. As a result I have worked on three truly exciting pieces of work during this year. I will go into these in more detail in a future blog.

 I guess the main thing I have learned is for a while I closed myself off, I was on a Audio path and learning very little else. Yes, I have still come out of this still wanting to do Audio even more, but I have learned more skills. I am Avid certified, I know how to work with cameras and lights. I know how to edit on other programs as well as making my own graphics. I also learned how to work with clients and how to present myself in a professional way when working. I also got to see the not so nice or pleasant side of the business.