Net TV. Screening session and my personal comments

I was looking forward to the screening session for Net TV – I hadn’t seen all the other groups’ programmes, plus I was curious how people would react to ours.

We were reminded to take notes of how we would evaluate the programmes – I’m doing this anyway, but having to think about two positive comments and two things that need improvement helped me take more focused notes, as opposed to simply jotting down long pages of meaningless words.

Here are my thoughts on other people’s and our programme:

My comments on Group A’s show

Positive:

  • A very good idea to have cue cards with viewers’ comments and reactions – it looked as these were genuine comments received just as the VTs were playing. Clever!
  • I think the content of the programme was really good – well researched, fitted well into the brief and their theme.
  • Good lighting work for the guitar performance – it really made sense to turn the lights off and use a simpler and darker set.
  • The choice of VTs was also excellent – the group obviously tried hard to find quality UGC clips and fit them well into the programme.
  • ‘An A-Team Production’ – a very good decision to put a picture of the group with a logo and name of the team – and a good play with words ‘Team A’ – A-Team for excellence. I loved that!

Things that needed improvement:

  • Graphics on the presenters’ faces – it was confusing, looked cheap and clumsy. I hope it was not their intention to achieve this effect – maybe they had some technical problem to chromakey / fade the graphics. Good it was only in the beginning though – it was a bad first impression, but the rest of the show was good enough for the viewer to forget this experience.
  • Not enough movement – the presenters were very static, only using one part of the studio – they stayed seated throughout the show, which made it seem a bit boring.
  • Too much headroom and strange camera framing – a little technical comment for the camera operators – instead of having the presenters’ heads in the middle of the shot, next time they might want to frame them better – maybe using the rule of thirds as a guideline.

My comments on Group B’s show

Positive:

  • High quality opening titles – they’d obviously made good use of After Effects, and it made the show stand out. I could only suggest changing the colour theme – the green main colour, combined with a tree made the impression of an environment-themed show – not a student show ‘The Flat’
  • Commenting on the VTs – it was good that presenters linked between their theme and the VTs – there is always a chance for ‘student’ themed shows to lose grips with reality and become too random – but ‘The Flat’ had a very good structure and well thought-through content.
  • Throwing towels around the studio – this was a very cool and eye-catching small detail. It showed movement, gave a sense of play, also made good use of the cameras and made the show feel even more real. Simple but clever!

Things that needed improvement:

  • Camera changes – in lots of occasions, the presenters were talking to the wrong camera. It could have been the result of not enough rehearsing or maybe the communication between the studio and the gallery wasn’t good.
  • Too much hand movement – I think everyone noticed that – one of the presenters was talking to the camera with his hands – which in the beginning was OK, but should have ended earlier.
  • Illegible end credits – because of the colour theme chosen (and the font size), it was very hard to read the list of credits.

My comments on Group C’s show

Positive:

  • Good opening – using ‘previous shows’ type of content to create the opening sequence – it shows good use of the studio equipment and a good understanding of the genre of children’s programmes.
  • Drawing a zebra crossing on the floor – this is one of the groups that really used the studio well – even the floor!
  • Passing a ball – for a children’s programme, it was a good decision to have a game. It’s all about play when you are a kid – so it was a clever choice!

Things that needed improvement:

  • Sound quality – it sounded like either the microphones were too far from the presenters, or the levels weren’t right. With so much movement around the studio, sound is quite important.
  • Titles in black and white and an overall lack of colour – I don’t think black and white fits in a children’s programme – it needs to be more vibrant, bright and colourful. The studio could have used more colour as well.
  • Too long song – the ‘Stop, look and listen’ song went on and on and on – should have been shorter.
  • Rediculing lecturers – maybe it wasn’t such a big deal. I personally wouldn’t do it.
  • Not following the brief – the show had nothing to do with ‘Net TV’, the VTs were not UGC – so even though it worked quite well, it didn’t fit the assignment.

Group D (that’s my group)

I’ll try to point out the good and not so good moments in the show from what I gathered from people’s reactions, and also my thoughts on the day.

Positive:

  • Good reaction to the presenter’s face after the VT – this is something we planned from the very start, and I am glad it was well received. I did think he should make a face of ‘disgusted after trying some awful food’, though.
  • Bright set and good use of the studio – I think our set was the richest and most eye-catching – and we used every square metre in the studio. We also had blackboards where the presenters wrote the scores – which worked much better than what we planned at the start. So thumbs up to the people in my group that dealt with the set on the day – lots of good ideas!
  • Good enough sound quality – OK, this is me praising myself here – but I believe we had covered the studio well and the sound levels worked. There were of course the big differences in levels when the presenters would shout something or make loud noises – but because they did it every time and we had rehearsed it, we were able to deal with it.
  • Presenters kept the interest in the show – one of them would smell the food and make a facial expression, later on he’d sneak a pot of yoghurt thinking no one’s watching – a brilliant shot from Camera 3 and good reaction in the gallery to catch the moment! At times where the pace was going wrong, there was always one of the presenters to save it – they were good improvisers.
  • Good camera moments – as mentioned, the moment of presenter eating a pot of yoghurt – then dancing to the food rap, the disappointment on the Banana person’s face when dismissed, the other presenter’s confusion on how to deal with the female contestant’s clothes – there were lots of very genuine and funny moments, and thumbs up for our camera people and the gallery for showing them to the audience!

Things that needed improvement:

  • Presenters’ confidence in the programme – even though they improvised quite well, a little more rehearsing could have benefitted them to be more confident with the running order and the content. I think they also had some problems with the autocue – but it wasn’t communicated with the autocue operator.
  • Hiccups with VTs and timing – because of the high tension and the lack of full rehearsals, we didn’t have enough confidence in the gallery and the transitions between studio and VTs were a bit clumsy at times. In lots of occasions, I would mess up the sound sources – for example, at one point a music bed goes off in the wrong time, and VT/studio transitions were not synchronised in terms of sound.
  • Lack of a running order scheme – I didn’t believe it would be a problem until the day of recording – but we should have made a running order scheme with notes what happens in the studio and gallery – I would have definitely benefitted from it for the music beds and VT/studio sound transitions.
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