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What Are The Most Important Things I Learned At BCAT (The Brooklyn Community Television Studio and teaching studio)
Since this was my very first experience in the control room of a television studio, you must know that even in that first year, I learned a lot . And sometimes you can learn more ‘as’ you are doing rather than just ‘learning’ , as in book learning. So this was totally hands-on learning and teaching experience. And the teaching sometimes could come from myself, in that after I had been producing shows for a long time, there were always newcomers that were willing to volunteer and help the production.
So, some of what I learned at BCAT :
- Seriously, your sound is vital, most important. Think about it. If you turn a tv show on and there’s no sound or low sound or bad sound, you probably will turn the channel quite quickly. So there they taught us about a process called , “zeroing out”. Watching the board and making sure that the sound level was at a certain level. So once you learn this, and it’s easy to learn, then no matter what anyone else , in the control room, says to you, make sure your sound is at that level. There are some that might say, “oh no, you just need it to go up to here,” and they point . And I’d look and say, “hmm, no, they taught me that you have to zero out and the levels have to be at least to here,” and I’d point. (more about this later)
- Now, along with the sound, you must know your guest and know how they act , in order to keep getting good sound. For example, if you have a guest, male or female, that has long, over-the-shoulder hair, you probably don’t want to use a lavalier microphone on that guest. More than once, we have seen guests, either play with their hair – causing unwanted sounds, or guests that turn their head and with that turn, the long hair brushes right up against the microphone -more unwanted sound. So know your guests, observe, and use the right microphone for the guest.
- Learn about microphones. Sure, I’m older and I’m not techno-genius, but I know this much, there are microphones that pick up all the sound in the room, and there are microphones that pick up only what is right in front of the microphone and there are those that pick up to the side etc, and on and on. Each particular set up and each particular guest should have their own particular style of mic that will work for them.
So , I learned all those things, and lots more, at the Brooklyn studio, located in the heart of Brooklyn, NY USA. It’s a bustling area filled with arts, not far from the Brooklyn Academy of Music. And thus, you know for sure that it is near impossible to park, legally, anywhere around there. You could drive around for half-hour or more before you find a space. And at that you might be driving around blocks where cars are double parked or even triple-parked on the streets. That’s Brooklyn for you. But their studio is most excellent. The training was over the top. And the recommended book , at that time was also the best. I still have the book and I’ll refer back to it from time to time .
The still photographs, above, are from some of the television shows that I have produced, and directed over the years. The blue teddy bear was a show, not about teddy bears, but about the Newtown, Connecticut tragedy. I visited Newtown, for a closer look at the town, and at the Memorial that was set up right in the middle of town. As I was there at the square (more like a triangle), all of a sudden, we heard the sirens, the motorcade. At that moment that I was taping the memorial, the police motorcade , escorting the funeral vehicles , passed by the Memorial. They were on their way to burying one of the persons that died as a result of the Sandy Hook shootings. I’ll remember that day always, like it was yesterday. The town of Newtown, is still recovering from those days.
This is the end of this entry