almostwitty: (Default)

I was recently given the opportunity to produce a short film for work about a new website, coming soon for internal workers. Since I hadn’t really made a short film since my student efforts with Stephen Fry in 1995 – when we were outputting to VHS! – I thought it’d be a great chance to learn what had changed in the last 15 years. A lot.

Whereas before we literally pointed and shot the camera at our interviewees, this time we also had a lighting kit to contend with. A huge lighting kit on a trolley that came in a flight case – and I was told this was the portable version. It did make a difference in terms of the visual image, but I’m not sure it was worth the effort of rigging everything up and blinding our interviewees. But if that’s the professional way to do it …

Of course, I was the one asking the questions, although it took me a while to master my brief, as they are wont to say in the civil service. But by the time I’d recorded and logged all the interviews, I had enough soundbites to put something together, although it then became a bit of a mad dash to try and find alternative footage to pep up the visuals – and amazingly, if you want to film at the place you work, you need a permit. Plus there’s so much footage in the archives that it’s actually very difficult to try and find the footage you want, that somebody else MUST have surely filmed.

All in all, we spent a day and a half filming, and got about 90 minutes of raw footage out of eight quick interviews, most of them lasting less than ten minutes. It took me a couple of hours to transcribe the interviews to create a rough “script” to take to the edit suite.

Having spent most of my working life vainly trying to get work computers to do basic video editing, it was a real blessing to walk into a properly maintained edit suite running Final Cut Pro, being run by an editor who knew what he was doing. Even if it didn’t seem that different from Adobe Premiere Pro. We even managed to add in a couple of graphical flourishes and a visual gag. I did miss the physicality of doing it myself though – of pressing the buttons, using the jog wheel etc.

So two meetings, 14 hours of filming, 2 hours of logging, a couple of spare tapes for extra shots, and 8 hours of editing later, I can say that I’ve managed to help produce a 4 minute internal film that five key stakeholders seem reasonably happy with. Which is an innovation in itself. But then, Geoff managed to make this video in 5 hours…

Now I’ve got a vague hunger to see what else I can film and edit. Of course, that would mean finding a subject, the time, the motivation – oh, and the equipment as well.

Mirrored from almost witty.

almostwitty: (Default)

I was recently given the opportunity to produce a short film for work about a new website, coming soon for internal workers. Since I hadn’t really made a short film since my student efforts with Stephen Fry in 1995 – when we were outputting to VHS! – I thought it’d be a great chance to learn what had changed in the last 15 years. A lot.

Whereas before we literally pointed and shot the camera at our interviewees, this time we also had a lighting kit to contend with. A huge lighting kit on a trolley that came in a flight case – and I was told this was the portable version. It did make a difference in terms of the visual image, but I’m not sure it was worth the effort of rigging everything up and blinding our interviewees. But if that’s the professional way to do it …

Of course, I was the one asking the questions, although it took me a while to master my brief, as they are wont to say in the civil service. But by the time I’d recorded and logged all the interviews, I had enough soundbites to put something together, although it then became a bit of a mad dash to try and find alternative footage to pep up the visuals – and amazingly, if you want to film at the place you work, you need a permit. Plus there’s so much footage in the archives that it’s actually very difficult to try and find the footage you want, that somebody else MUST have surely filmed.

All in all, we spent a day and a half filming, and got about 90 minutes of raw footage out of eight quick interviews, most of them lasting less than ten minutes. It took me a couple of hours to transcribe the interviews to create a rough “script” to take to the edit suite.

Having spent most of my working life vainly trying to get work computers to do basic video editing, it was a real blessing to walk into a properly maintained edit suite running Final Cut Pro, being run by an editor who knew what he was doing. Even if it didn’t seem that different from Adobe Premiere Pro. We even managed to add in a couple of graphical flourishes and a visual gag. I did miss the physicality of doing it myself though – of pressing the buttons, using the jog wheel etc.

So two meetings, 14 hours of filming, 2 hours of logging, a couple of spare tapes for extra shots, and 8 hours of editing later, I can say that I’ve managed to help produce a 4 minute internal film that five key stakeholders seem reasonably happy with. Which is an innovation in itself. But then, Geoff managed to make this video in 5 hours…

Now I’ve got a vague hunger to see what else I can film and edit. Of course, that would mean finding a subject, the time, the motivation – oh, and the equipment as well.

Mirrored from almost witty.

almostwitty: (Default)

At work, I’m currently project managing the development of a booking system for various internal events.

But it has no name. Well, aside from Booking System. Which is, needless to say, not particularly attractive.

So… any suggestions from the crowd?

Mirrored from almost witty.

almostwitty: (Default)

As some people may have noticed, Torchwood: Children of Earth annoyed quite a few Torchwood fans, and some of them responded in less than flattering ways, especially towards one of the writers, the gentlemanly James Moran.

The best quote I saw was when someone Twittered James to ask that he walk into the production offices and shoot the executive producer. Fan-icide, you might say.

So I wrote a short 400-word article about it for Ariel, the BBC’s in-house magazine – reproduced here for your slight enjoyment…

An article I wrote for Ariel

An article I wrote for Ariel

Of course, extreme acts of fandom stupidity and inaneness are not restricted to Torchwood fans, oh no… read an earlier post and the priceless comment

Now, guess how much I was paid for those 400 words of non-wisdom...

Mirrored from almost witty.

almostwitty: (Default)

I recently had a work meeting with someone senior who turned out to be from Wales. Thus one small tangent of the conversation involved me saying I was from Wales, and stating that I had a Welsh GCSE certificate. Second language, of course, but who’s counting?

Of course, what happens? I get back a short work email … entirely in Welsh. I can distill the odd phrase or word and get the gist of the email – all but the last sentence.

Now, do I:

- admit defeat, and reveal my inadequateness in using Welsh (after all, I’m not genetically Welsh and haven’t lived in Wales for three years)?
- soldier on, find someone to translate the text for me, and fire off some pithy comeback in Welsh, and keep the illusion going?

Oh, these work dilemmas…

Mirrored from almost witty.

almostwitty: (Default)

I recently had a work meeting with someone senior who turned out to be from Wales. Thus one small tangent of the conversation involved me saying I was from Wales, and stating that I had a Welsh GCSE certificate. Second language, of course, but who’s counting?

Of course, what happens? I get back a short work email … entirely in Welsh. I can distill the odd phrase or word and get the gist of the email – all but the last sentence.

Now, do I:

- admit defeat, and reveal my inadequateness in using Welsh (after all, I’m not genetically Welsh and haven’t lived in Wales for three years)?
- soldier on, find someone to translate the text for me, and fire off some pithy comeback in Welsh, and keep the illusion going?

Oh, these work dilemmas…

Mirrored from almost witty.

almostwitty: (Default)



lust money

Originally uploaded by catsfather

The ongoing saga of MP expenses has opened up a veritable kettle of worms in terms of what people earn, what they expect to earn - and crucially, how that compares to the rest of the population.

Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] actionreplay, I spotted a link to the Institute of Fiscal Studies has a handy calculator that compares your income against the British national average (£390 for a two-adult household, after taxes and benefits).

My details against the IFS calculator show that I have a higher income than around 85% of the population. Then again, I’m in a single household with no dependents.

I’m reasonably happy with my salary - I don’t feel rich, but I don’t feel poor either. I’m not buying Tesco Value baked beans, but neither am I buying organically grown gourmet beans flown in from Fiji. But then once I discovered that some people earned far more than I did, I was slightly peeved for a while - for no good reason. My income hadn’t changed at all, but the knowledge that other people were doing far better than I did suddenly started to rankle slightly. For no good reason.

There’s a fascinating - if somewhat biased article - in The Guardian about the *emotional* gap between those working in the City and their reality. How everyone in the City assumes they’re working for a slave’s wage, yet can’t grasp the reality that they are far better off than most people. Because, alas, most people aren’t around them - they only see their peers.

Which is probably why MPs had no clue that the rest of the country would see what they were doing as thieving.

I’m fairly sure most of my friends would consider themselves to be average wage-earners, not earning that much more or less. But then the reality is, in fact, that they’re probably all earning far more than say 75% of the population.

Originally published at almost witty. You can comment here or there.

almostwitty: (Default)

Ever since I’ve been a kid, I’ve been a Doctor Who fan. Not quite to the point of putting up posters but I definitely bought the magazines and recorded the programmes on VHS.

It did get to the point when I was notoriously knowledgable about it in my hometown, and when I accidentally recorded over my prized recording of Remembrance of the Daleks, even my TV-phobic parents knew how important it was to my 14-year-old self.

However, it became time to grow up, go to university and put away childish things. Although of course, the knowledge would always emerge somehow sooner or later - and it’s not as if pretending to like The Sundays hid my geekiness. But I consciously shied away from being too close to what counted for Doctor Who fandom at the time. Even if I did run the Cult TV society at University…

Fast-forward ten years, and Doctor Who geeks and fans are everywhere. And I mean, EVERYWHERE. In all shapes, sizes and ages.

Doctor Who almost always comes up at some point in work. But while I concentrated on trying to be cool at university (and failing), they unabashedly carried on with the love that dare not vworp its name, and started running conventions and the like. Now, they go on holidays with the production team and things like that.

I recently had a work meeting with a young mid-20s lady with a glamorous name, and was amazed when unbidden, she started talking about her love of Doctor Who, and namechecking Troughton and the like. Never mind the fact she knows what happens at Christmas…

Of course, working at BBC Wales for five years, three of which were spent looking enviously while other colleagues ran off taking pics on location and in studio didn’t exactly help. But ah well, not even the Doctor can change his own past (Eighth Doctor excepted, of course)

Originally published at almost witty. You can comment here or there.

almostwitty: (Default)

As I speak, there is the glorious sound of a gospel choir working their way through a bunch of classic hymns and not-so-classic modern pop tunes.

This would be great, if it was not Friday at 4pm, they were on the ground floor of the building I work in and only the bottom two floors (those belonging to BBC Worldwide) are enjoying the party, complete with mince pies, wine, DJ and glitterball. In the meantime, the wage slaves up above have to - in theory - keep working.

It wouldn’t be so bad if I hadn’t arrived back at the BBC just when the Christmas party limit was slashed, so my “departmental” Christmas party last week was at a bar, and consisted of some free drink - and far too late - some very unChristmassy canapes. Although I’m lucky I got to go to one at all, I suppose…

Then again, my first BBC Worldwide Christmas party was quite an eye-opener. I’d only been working for a week, and got shepherded to the party at Heaven, which included girls dancing in cages, and ice sculptures where you could drink vodka from an ice woman’s breast. This was 1997, mind you…

Originally published at almost witty. You can comment here or there.

almostwitty: (evil)
Thanks to a lovely blogger friend of mine (who says blogging gets you nowhere?) I have now embarked on the strange and interesting world that is freelancing, for one major employer (spending weekdays in ol' London town - come and say hi!) doing some online editing and writing, which is nice.

It's a bit of an eyeopener into the way that "real" publishing works, and I've got some stuff to learn but as the Amerikanski would say, It's All Good.

However, the vexed question of my official status and how I should be paid has arisen. Should I:

- go completely freelance, and just invoice the company direct, and sort out tax and National Insurance at the end of the year? The slight flaw being I'm not sure i can be a "sole trader" if I'm just working for one employer.

- go on their payroll as a casual? Easiest option, but least lucrative I guess...

- employ an umbrella company to be the middle man for sorting out invoices and the like...

What do you think?
almostwitty: (evil)
Thanks to work, I got a rather nice invite to the Association of Online Publishers Awards 2007 ceremony at the London Hilton. Only one snag - the dress code demanded black tie.

Being a short-sleeved and chinos kind of chap, I had no real idea what a black tie dinner suit entailed, so I ran to the nearest dress hire shop and slapped down £50 for a black-tie dinner suit. Which seemed to consist of ... a black jacket, black trousers, white shirt and a bow tie. Oh sure, the jacket and trousers had some slightly extra-fancy stitching with some kind of satin strip, and the white shirt was an especially smart shirt, but I imagine I could have just worn a black jacket and black trousers, and perhaps gotten away with it.

Still, it was quite nice striding across the London Hilton with the Bond theme mentally running through my head into a cocktail reception - an illusion alas rudely shattered when my boss took one look at me and adjusted my black tie.

The awards came and went quite quickly, with Frankie Boyle dishing out awards and telling everyone to stop booing the Telegraph. Then it was time for the disco.

One particular ginger gentleman similarly donned in a black tie came up to us, definitely the worse for wear, going on and on about how great his video website company was. Later on, he tried to chat up my boss, so we tried distracting him by chatting to him, whereupon he threatened to do my face in. Charming fellow, but I think it's safe to say I won't be dealing with videojug.com any time soon.
almostwitty: (funny)
I've worked within new media companies for just over a decade, and no office I've been in has come close to having as much fun as the staff at Connected Ventures, according to this new video which has apparently sparked yet another entry to the trendy urban lexicon, lip dub.

Maybe it's because UK new media is just too dour to do things as silly. Maybe it's because all the new media companies I've worked for were based in either way-too-posh rented offices, or just run-of-the-mill offices. Maybe I'm just too old for the onset of true citizen-generated video content. Maybe it's just me.

Stick with the clip, it does become one of the silliest, joyful and yet easy-to-do videos I've seen. Then again, I'm a huge fan of miming. Even has shades of Morecambe & Wise in it.



There's another track I need to add to my iTunes...

Thanks, [livejournal.com profile] worldmegan!
almostwitty: (Default)

I’ve worked within new media companies for just over a decade, and no office I’ve been in has come close to having as much fun as the staff at Connected Ventures, according to this new video which has apparently sparked yet another entry to the trendy urban lexicon, lip dub.

Maybe it’s because UK new media is just too dour to do things as silly. Maybe it’s because all the new media companies I’ve worked for were based in either way-too-posh rented offices, or just run-of-the-mill offices. Maybe I’m just too old for the onset of true citizen-generated video content. Maybe it’s just me.

Stick with the clip, it does become one of the silliest, joyful and yet easy-to-do videos I’ve seen. Then again, I’m a huge fan of miming. Even has shades of Morecambe & Wise in it.

Lip Dub – Flagpole Sitta by Harvey Danger from amandalynferri on Vimeo.

There’s another track I need to add to my iTunes…

Mirrored from almost witty.

almostwitty: (Default)

Well, it was a 14-hour workday producing on-demand broadband video clips from the Tsunami Relief Concert – and aside from the fact I’ve still got a glowing wristband on that would have allowed me backstage access throughout the entire gig and I had to babysit a video encoder instead – it was good fulfilling fun. Pumping out 8 hours of video content, checking it for swearing gives one a huge sense of achievement. Although not being able to spot when Badly Drawn Boy repeats a song twice is not one of my music appreciation highlights.

Mirrored from almost witty.

almostwitty: (Default)

Like ants to a sugar cube on a picnic.

And just when it gets interesting, and the music starts pumping out the stadium speakers, I have to go to the office to pump out 8 hours of broadband-quality on-demand video. Which will be fun, but not as fun as working backstage.

Mirrored from almost witty.

almostwitty: (Default)

Like ants to a sugar cube on a picnic.

And just when it gets interesting, and the music starts pumping out the stadium speakers, I have to go to the office to pump out 8 hours of broadband-quality on-demand video. Which will be fun, but not as fun as working backstage.

Mirrored from almost witty.

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