Friday, August 31, 2007

Sudden outbreak of good taste (probably temporary)

(According to the usual reliable sources) Five news, followed closely by 4 and possibly Newsnight (subject to a viewer poll) will henceforth no longer 'fake' news interviews by using reconstructions such as walking shots, reporter noddies, cutaway questions. So will we now see an outbreak of jump-cuts, fast 'verite' dissolves or just long uncut rushes? Or maybe 2 camera news shoots will become the norm.

Whether this rush to honesty will include captions that say 'This is NOT this person's office, these are NOT his books, this is NOT her office staircase' has yet to be announced. Well, I'm glad it's not me having to cut the things under pressure.

It's a great blow to the 'most unconvincing cutaway of the week' competition we've long run in my household - although there is still hope for the local TV standby, the 'interviewee making a cup of tea/doing the washing up' mini-sequence.

Amusing too, to note that five's exec described all these disgracefully dishonest tricks as redolent of 'tired old showbiz' and went on to say they're no longer necessary because of all the new editing tech we have (ie flash frames, verite dissolves, see above).

It won't be long until we all have to sign an Editor's Oath to work on news.

Cracking meeting next week 3rd Sept

Our Fourth Glorious Year starts off - Same time but different place.

Monday 3rd Sept, gather at 6.30pm onwards, prompt start at 7pm: Aardman Animations, Gas Ferry Rd, Bristol. We've been promised a tour of the post production facilities and a look at the workflow (based of course on FCP). And there's more - Richard will be demonstrating Motion templates within FCP, and Phil will give a brief roundup of 'What's been happening' in the months we've been away from the wefcpug. And a raffle. Plus YOUR problems solved. Quite Possibly.

Contact details to email if you'd like to come, and a map of how to get there all on the brand spanking new wefcpug website at

Thursday, August 16, 2007

wefcpug Season 4 - a preview

Yes, we're starting our fourth year in a couple of weeks, and it's going to start with a must-be-there meeting. We're still inking in the details (as they say) but we do know it'll be on September 3rd, and it'll be at Aardman in Bristol. Exact time and address to come later!

Richard will be 'talking templates' and Phil will be 'krafting keynotes' PLUS lots more, including the fabulous raffle. Somewhere in the evening we'll be trying to clarify just which upgrades you need and which you should avoid, amidst the torrents of stuff that's come out since we last spoke.

And there's a new design to the blog, what more do you want to tempt you back from holidays?

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Timewarp Radio

- this posting has a 'best before' time - 3pm 14th August. That's when 'Pirate BBC Essex' stops transmission (on Medium Wave!). They've kitted out the LV18 Lightship with turntables, decks, studio, and transmitters - and a load of the old pirate DJs (Dave Cash, Johnnie Walker, and many more) - and their playlist is strictly 64-67, with original jingles from Caroline and Big L. It shouldn't work, it ought to sound fusty, but it's surprisingly fresh and unforced.

Oh - and this time round they've got the benefit of internet connections to the audience!

Catch it while you can online via where there's a 'listen live' link in the main body (not the BBC Essex link - you don't want to go there).

Prizes, prizes

The nomination period has now opened for this year's Royal Television Society awards, that's the local (West of England) awards, presented at the conventionally glittering dinner in Bristol on the 6th December.

There's a 'Craft Editor' category as well as 'Camerawork/Lighting Cam' plus the usual mix of network and regional programme categories. Full details on the RTS web page - click on this link. The documentation is in the form of pdf's.

Closing date is 24th September.


Monday, August 13, 2007

From one Salfordian to another

Off topic for this blog, but indulge this expatriate Northerner. I wanted to mark the passing of Tony Wilson (aka Anthony, Anthony H) late of Granada TV, Factory Records, Hacienda and so on. We attended the same school (most emphatically NOT a public school!) in Salford but I outranked him by a year: I can actually remember him in a Sixth form uniform, a rather unlikely appearance in view of his later career. I have to admit my mum know Anthony a lot better than I did: he was a regular at the music club my family ran in Manchester, up to the time he founded his own.

The best obits I've seen are from today's (Manchester) Guardian
and the Manc Evening News and there's not a lot to add to them, apart from one sideline.

The last time I saw Anthony, he was chairing an Indies conference at the Salford Lowry, about 4 or 5 years ago I think. One highpoint was a mock news report he'd made which featured the 'news from the future' about the Manchester-based BBC-2 channel. Amongst the audience was the then head of BBC2, Jane Root. I don't believe anybody took the report seriously - well how wrong can you be?

Friday, August 10, 2007

You wait all week for a new Mac

and suddenly they all come at once. Well, not quite all, but with new iMacs, improved MacMinis, new versions of iLife (with a really new iMovie, more later) and iWork (with a Spreadsheet app), .Mac, and software updates coming at us like the proverbial rats up a drainpipe (or should that be rats down a fibre optic pipe) - lots of New Stuff (technical term) to play with.

First Impressions:

iMac looks pretty good for a 'home' (meaning not in the Pro range) computer. Tech specs outperform the best Pro towers of only a couple of years back. What used to be the drawback, the difficulty of expansion of hard drive (make that the impossibility for us mere mortals) isn't an issue in this age of firewire and USB drives.

Note that the Apple logo has gone from the Command key in the new improved keyboards - it even says 'Command'. I also spot that they moved all the Function keys around. I mean, they're still numbered from the left, but the right hand side now do the video transport things, didn't spot where they've moved the eject button. This will be fun for starters.

iMovie08 is, apparently, a whole new program, with a 'new way' of editing video. Jobs' demo is as slick as ever and there does seem to be a place in all our lives for quick and easy assembly of clips - I like the way that scrubbing has made it to the consumer market (though it's now called 'skimming') and I suspect there are pointers to the way FCP will develop, at least in the indexing and display of content. Note one thing there isn't - a Timeline. What the demo doesn't say (but we all know about iMovie) is that you can't do much apart from AV joins - no complex sound, no split edits. But what do you expect for £55? One note - iMovie08 requires a G5 or faster processor.

Numbers - the spreadsheet program - is (IMHO) worth the price of iWork alone. Anyone who's had to pull a graphic out of an Excel spreadsheet, then manipulate the figures and THEN try to print the lot on one page will rush to buy. I have to agree with the cliche view on Apple here - they focus on what users want to do and make it easier.

More trends I've spotted from iPhone presentations coming up later in the blog.