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Professional Techniques marks

We have received our marks for the last assessments now and moved on to start new modules.  I was really pleased with my marks and for those of you who read about my experiences you will feel my happiness too!  I worked hard on them, especially radio as it took a while sourcing interviews for me this time!

My marks reflect my interests which is nice.  I gained my highest mark for my TV piece which got a 78!  I am SO pleased with this and was a little shocked to be honest!  Great to have positive feedback on all elements of my filming, scripting, story choice and editing. : )

Then my blog got 73 which again I was very happy with.  I don’t really find blogging that difficult…I just say what I’m thinking most of the time…which is usually a lot!  That approach seems to work though…my tutor liked the detail and ‘chunking’ of my content.  It also paid off to evaluate my piece by using the marking criteria.

Finally my radio piece, I was a little disappointed to see that my production marks were fairly low for this (in the 50s) but understand why.  Evidently it was not the best decision to cut out all pauses and breathes and made it sound very odd??!!  Incidentally no-one who listened to my work said this to me!  Oh well, luckily I gained high on ‘journalism skills’ for the piece as they liked my story and were impressed with the interviews I did get which was good.

Overall I came out with a mark of 71 for the module – a distinction!! : )


TV assessment criteria: Journalism skills

1. News judgement

The decision on the leap second occurred after I had chosen the story, so it dictated my top line – as it was the latest on the story.  This allowed for me to show the debate as well as some reaction to the postponement.

There was a great deal of coverage across all broadcasters and print/online, so it must have been newsworthy!  It was a quirky story, so a nice fun, interesting piece to cover.

2. Research

My blog shows the research I conducted to get to this point.  It can be hard to find international stories to cover in Cornwall, so I was pleased to find this one.

3. Target audience

The World Tonight audience (our weekly TV show) has been similar to the BBC World Service and I think I successfully met that with this story choice and treatment.  It was a story which involved nearly every country in the world and the consequences of the decision had a direct impact on all countries.

The way I scripted the beginning of the story was to try to relate it to people’s every day lives to draw them into the story.

I did film a vox pop whilst filming but decided later not to use it as I felt it didn’t flow in the overall story.  However, I took influence from what people told me when writing the script.

4. Balance / impartiality

When covering a story with two clear opposing sides it is easy to be balanced if you can gain comment from both sides and give them both a voice.  That is what I aimed to do here by using the UK and France as strong voices on either side of the issue.

5. Scripting

I had a clear structure in my head when writing this piece as I felt the story needed a simple introduction to allow people to relate to the story, then the need to explain the science, followed by presentation of the two sides of the debate.  I concluded by adding some reaction to the postponement and indicating the next steps in this story.


TV assessment criteria: Production skills

1. Planning

I practiced a time lapse before I went out filming to make sure I knew how to create one using the P2 cameras.  This involved testing the interval options.

I also enlisted some help with filming my piece to camera!

2. Filming

I went through the checklist for the camera on each shoot, making sure I white balanced in each location and re-focussed etc.  I put my new knowledge of producing time lapse into action, trying out a few to give me options in the edit suite.

I filmed sound with every shot to allow natural noise to be used in editing.

I also paid attention to the composition of my shots by trying to use different angles and distances.

I was happy with most of my shots, the only ones I wasn’t so pleased with were the computer shots and the map of France.  Ideally I would have taken more time to go to a different location where there was a nice wall map to film and different computers to those in the media centre!

3. Editing

I cut the clips I wanted from my interviews, scripted and then voiced the story.  After bringing the voiceover into AVID, I laid over appropriate images to match the words.  I made use of dissolves and used the audio mixer to even out levels throughout.

The background noise on my piece to camera unfortunately was too loud and a little difficult to cover in the edit process.  Next time, I would try to find a quieter spot (e.g. I could have asked to film inside the watch shop rather than outside).

4. Creativity

I think my use of time lapses, clock sounds and variety of shots made this a creative piece.  My directing motion graphics I was able to use pictures to help explain the science in the story.

Time TV package evaluation

My TV package is finished and uploaded and I’m overall quite happy with the piece.  Considering I managed to cover an international story by self-shooting all the footage in Cornwall, I am pleased with the results!

After planning my own package and shot types I watched a few produced by broadcasters, including Channel 4 and BBC, and was happy to see that they had used similar ideas to mine.  For example, the Channel 4 package employed time lapses, and both used graphics to help explain the leap second.

I was also happy with the interviews I managed to obtain for the story…after all, Brian at the Roseland Observatory was incredibly knowledgeable and was second best to visiting Grenwich!  And the phone interview with the BIPM was a crucial voice in the debate and one that had been mentioned in all reports I read/saw on the story.

I’m going to break my evaluation down by going back over the initial brief and marking criteria.

Package requirements

  • I produced a TV package that was the correct duration – between 1’30 and 2’30 with cue
  • I included at least one clip from an interview that I researched, filmed and edited myself. I also included a phone interview from overseas to give the story more strength by showing the other side of the debate.
  • I wrote a studio cue with technical instructions in the correct format (2 columns)
  • I had a standard out cue at the end of the package
  • I used footage filmed by myself
  • I loaded the final piece to vimeo and provided the link

To read evaluation on the assessment criteria click on the following links:

Leap second decision postponed until 2015

Experts at the International Telecommunication Union have postponed the controversial vote on whether to abolish the leap second, until 2015.

The world seems unable to reach any agreement, despite ten years of discussions.

Catherine Feltham reports.

Leap second from Catherine Feltham on Vimeo.

Useful links:

International Telecommunication Union

Roseland Observatory

International Bureau of Weights and Measures 

TV editing and scripting

I usually start by clipping my interviews, and writing a script.  I then find it fairly easy to lay images over and edit after this.  Today I began this process.  It was harder than some of the other packages I’ve worked on as I had a lot from my interviews so deciding which angle to take, and which direction for the story was the time consuming part.

Here are some of the clips from the interview I’ve decided to leave out of the package, but that are interesting for those wanting to find out more about the leap second!

TV filming for the leap second

TV is going well…yipeee!

Friday –  a course mate – Mia, kindly drove me over to the Roseland Observatory where I met Brian Sheen – the Director and an incredibly knowledgable and friendly man.  It was great fun learning more about time, science and having a look around!

Saturday – most of the day spent out and about with the camera.  It was great fun, despite the random weather!  I managed to get a piece to camera, various clock shots, a couple of vox pops, potential cut-aways and general view shots and some time lapses.  It was the first time I have used the P2 cameras to do a time lapse so I had a practice first to check the settings.  I love time lapses – I think they are really fun and fascinating to watch.  I thought they would be the perfect technique to apply to this news story to give a sense of time moving.

Here are a couple of shots I filmed that I won’t be using in the package: