Post archive

New beginners XF305 course in AUGUST

We can now finally confirm the next Beginners XF305 Course. It will be taking place at Media City, Salford on August 18th and 19th. Book Early!

Quality over resolution

Interesting article from Red Shark News.

Channel TV training

Mark will be back in Jersey for two weeks in March for two new video journalist courses for Channel TV. They are currently building a new state of the art HD television studio at the spectacular Port Elizabeth. Ahead of the move in May they wish to add camera skills to a new batch of production journalists and reporters.

Owing to popular demand a new beginners XF305 course has been arranged

Our next beginners Canon XF305 course is now confirmed for March 4th and 5th in Media City, Salford. Please email if you are interested in attending. There are currently 3 spaces remaining.

New Channel TV courses

Mark has been invited back to Jersey to run two new week courses for Channel TV. They have a number of new journalists starting in 2015. They are also building a new state of the art HD news studio at St Helier Harbour which will be completed in May this year.

January course now full

The Beginners XF305 Course at Media City in January is now full. But don't despair please email for future dates.

New beginners XF305 course confirmed January

Our next beginners Canon XF305 course is now confirmed for January 12th and 13th in Media City, Salford. Please email if you are interested in attending. There are currently 3 spaces remaining.

New beginners XF305 course planned for January

Owing to the high demand for places on the last beginners XF305 course in October Camerasmith will be putting on a new 2-day course in January. Dates will confirmed in a few days.

UTV Ireland update

Mark will be delivering two camera course for UTV Ireland in Dublin. The HD channel will be launched in January in new studios being built at the Point in Dublin. The camera crews will be shooting on the PMW400 and the journalists will be equipped with the new Sony PXW180 camera.

UTV Ireland launching in January

UTV are launching a new television channel in Dublin in January 2015. As part of the new channel they will be producing a 30 minute evening news at 6.30 each week day and an hours programme similar to Newsnight at 10pm. Camerasmith has been asked to deliver two  5-day camera courses for the new journalists starting at the end of October. 

XF305 Course now FULL in October

There has been high demand for the beginner's XF305 course in October. It is now full. But please email if you are still interested in attending. We may be able to arrange another course soon with enough interest.

New XF305 course announced

A new 2 - day beginners Canon XF305 course is scheduled for October 16th and 17th. The course will take place at Media City in Salford and is suitable for anyone starting to shoot for broadcast. The XF305 is the most commonly used camera used in Production at the moment and a great camera to learn on. Please email for a course application form if interested in attending. 

ITV camera upgrade nearing an end

ITV News has almost finished rolling out its new PMW200 cameras to reporters and delivering training on the new cameras, lights and laptop sending techniques. ITV Calendar was completed last week and Mark is spending a final week in Jersey at Channel TV next week.

New trainer for Camerasmith

Owing to an increase in requests by broadcasters and production companies for camera training Camerasmith is working with a new trainer. Charlie Garforth has a very long and successful career working first for ITV Calendar as a shoot/edit producer and the as a freelancer working on a number of long form programmes in the UK and abroad. Camerasmith is grateful she is willing to share some of her vast experience with journalists and production staff looking to self shoot. You can find more about her background on the trainers page of the website.

ITV Meridian switch to HD

After a few very intense weeks of newsroom changes Meridian Tonight switches to HD today. Mark is on site for two weeks as each reporter gets HD training and calmed about the extra caution they need to take when focussing!

Tony in Cumbria

Border TV is getting it's new PMW200 cameras this week.  Tony is spending the week in Carlisle training the news and programme journalists skills on the new camera. 

Good luck ITV Wales

Today is the first day of the new ITV Wales News programme produced and presented from the new offices at Cardiff Bay. The news and programme teams have been planning, testing and rehearsing for months. And the 6pm programme is the first to be broadcast live from the new state-of-the-art facilities.

ITV Wales going HD

Mark is doing his final week at ITV Wales before they switch to shooting and editing HD and move completely over to the new offices at Cardiff Bay. All the producer/directors have been fully kitted out with the PMW200 cameras and have been shooting in HD for a few weeks. But now the news teams are switching. As part of the kit upgrade Mark has delivered HD Media Composer training to the journalists editing remotely on their Macbooks. They can now AMA link to the SXS cards and edit, voice and send their packages quickly from their laptops using wifi or mifi connections wherever the story takes them.

Wales upgrades to PMW200

ITV Wales is the first ITV region this year to be switching to HD so Mark is in Cardiff for two weeks training the News and Programme teams on the new PMW200 cameras. ITV are closing Culverhouse Cross Studios and moving to brand new studios in Cardiff Bay.

Mark Gough tries out his new PMW200

Mark Gough, a reporter from ITV Central, was one of the first reporters to be issued with a new PMW200 and has been testing his camera out in the recent floods in Worcester. Here are a couple of his well shot reports.

Camerasmith is working with ITV News to roll out the new PMW200

As part of the ITV regions moving to HD over the next year Mark and Tony are travelling the regions delivering upgrade courses to all the regional reporters on the new, Full HD Sony PMW200. ITV have bought about 180 cameras and are gradually withdrawing the Sony Z5s and EX1s that have been in use since 2008. This week they are at YTV in Leeds working with the camera mentors to ensure they can support the training as it is rolled out.

Spaces still available on next XF305 course

Mark is doing a last minute Beginner's XF305 course at ITV, Salford Media City next week. There are still 2 spaces remaining. The dates are February 3rd and 4th. Please call if you are interested in attending.

Investment in new cameras for ITV News

ITV News is in the process of upgrading in regional, and national broadcast technology to allow its new output to be fully HD. As part of the process it has asked Camerasmith to plan and deliver the camera training required to get its journalists up to speed with the new tapeless, HD PMW200 cameras. The courses will be continuing around the country throughout 2014.

Lighting in Cardiff

ITV Wales programme teams are getting some lighting training with Mark this week. They have recently purchased a dedo light kit and some LED soft lights and would like some advice on how to be creative in lighting talking heads. Having no control over the locations they shoot in using lighting can greatly enhance grim offices or dingy homes. 

Trainee camera position at Granada Reports

A new position is to be created in the camera department at ITV Granada. The position is to be a trainee working on Granada Reports initially shadowing the experienced operators but with training and support to start shooting news items for the programme. This job is to be advertised from the beginning of November. For more information:

Creative Skillset wants you!

Creative Skillset would like people working in the industry to have their say on matters ranging from skills gaps and training, to the future needs of the industry. So sign up to join one of their online panels to help influence future decisions.

Amazing new steadicam designed!

Just when you thought camera technology couldn't get any weirder!

Lookaround is back

This month Lookaround has been restored to a full half-hour weekday programme. Lookaround is the regional news programme for Cumbria and the Scottish Borders. A number of new staff have been employed including three "embedded" reporters who will produce and send their reports directly from the field. Camerasmith has been working with the reporters, who have little previous television experience, to shoot, edit and send their packages remotely and enable them to get the local stories on air sooner than the traditional broadcast way.

Political Journalists get a laptop brush-up

Ahead of the Party Conferences in September Mark is doing a two-day catch-up with ITV's political Correspondents. They will be editing and sending from their new Macbook Pro laptops and need to get their head around the new Media Composer and sending option available to them.

ITV News trainee James getting to grips with his new skills

Mark completed his latest camera training week for the new ITV News reporter trainees in June at ITV Central and James Crichton-Smith, who is now working at ITV Wales in Cardiff, has been putting his new skills into action with a couple of well shot packages.

Shoot edit course in London

The latest shoot/edit course for journalists taking place in London in July is now full. Please contact Mark if you are interested in attending a similar one. 

Congratulations to Granada Reports

Congratulations to Granada Reports for winning their second BAFTA at the 2013 ceremony last night. After following the campaign of the Hillsborough families for 23 years. A well deserved award for such a dedicated and hard working team.

Scilly Isles Championship

Francesca Carpenter ITV reporter for Cornwall has been shooting the annual Scilly Isles gig championship only 2 days after finishing Mark's most recent VJ course. She has done incredibly well in capturing such a flavour of the event.

BBC to buy new JVC cameras.

The BBC have signed an agreement with JVC to buy the new GY-HM650 camcorder for news gathering. It has recently been approved by the EBU as a full acquisition HD camera for both short and long form programme making.

This will certainly spice things up with Manufacturers as JVC was, until now seen as more of a consumer camera brand. 

Granada up for a second BAFTA

Granada Reports was the first regional news programme to receive a well deserved BAFTA for their coverage of the Morecambe Bay cockling disaster in 2004. And now, in the same month that they start broadcasting from the State of the Art Media City studios, they have been nominated for another BAFTA. Good luck guys.

Canon XF305 Course a success

Mark completed his second Beginners XF305 course at the Greenhouse, Media City this week. The course was well received by the delegates who came from Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland as well as the North-West. Comments included - Very engaging teaching style. Good momentum on the course. Very helpful critique of practical exercises. Very thorough, step by step. Lots of time for questions and discussion. Everyone agreed that it is a shame there are not more camera courses available outside London and particularly not in the nations.

Granada News now full HD

After 6 months of hard work and a few sleepless nights Granada have completed the move from Quay Street in Manchester to Media City in Salford. Granada Reports was broadcast in HD for the first time tonight in their new Medai City studio. Mark has been helping out over the last few months with the HD workflow for shooting and editing and up-skilling  the journalists on the newly acquired Sony PMW200 cameras. It was decided early on for all media to be captured at full 4:2:2 50Mbps and all archive to be upscaled to the same resolution. Congratulations to everyone involved in the project the new programme looks very high quality and incredibly slick.

One place left on upcoming XF305 course

Our next XF305 course taking place on April 9th and 10th at Media City has only one place remaining. So if you are interested in attending or would like more information please contact Mark on 07811 387488 or email 

Only 3 places left on next XF305 course

We have only three places left on our next available Beginners XF305 Course in Manchester. It is being held at Media City and will cover all the principals of shooting for broadcast on the most commonly used camera for Productions at the BBC and ITV.  It is suitable for any one starting to shoot for broadcast or updating their skills from a different camera or after a break from the industry. Please get in touch if you have any other questions or wish to book a place.

Congratulations to Kerry Swain

Congratulations to Kerry Swain, reporter at ITV Meridian. She has won the RTS Southern award for best News VJ this year. Trained by Camerasmith in 2010. See one of her early self shoot packages on the trainee video page. 

Granada Reports to go HD

As part of the move of ITV Granada to Media City in Salford. Granada Reports is moving into a new, state of the art HD studio. Mark is working with the team at ITV to design and deliver HD training for the Journalists whose Z5 cameras are being replaced by the new, full HD Sony PMW200s. 

London Studios training

Mark has been asked to spend two days with ITV London Studio's cameramen. They are being asked by Productions such as This Morning to shoot pack shots on an XF305 camera. So Mark is teaching them how to shoot and light the pack shots on the camera.

Channel TV getting camera training

Camerasmith is working with Channel TV for the first time in setting up and delivering its successful ITV News video journalist course. Mark will be visiting Jersey over the next few months to train all their location journalists in self-shooting for the first time. 

Replacement for the Sony EX1 - the PMW200

Mark has been asked by ITV News to test out the new PMW200 camera from Sony. It is the direct replacement for the EX1, a camera that has been used extensively by video journalists and in production. But with only 35Mbps data rate was never considered a full HD camera. The PMW200 will shoot 50Mbps at 4:2:2 and with the same 3 x 1/2" sensors should be an exciting camera to use. ITV are planning to start shooting HD for broadcast in the new year with Granada Reports being the first region to switch. Mark will be putting the demo camera through its paces in the next few days. Watch this space.

Spaces still available on the next XF305 course

There are still two spaces available on the Beginners XF305 course running at Media City on Thursday and Friday this week. Please call if interested. 07811 387488

Camera Clinics

Mark is doing a Nationwide tour in the next few weeks visiting all the ITV regional newsrooms to run some camera clinics. For any Reporter or Correspondent working at ITV who would like to find out more please contact your Head of News.

ITV News trainees complete their year

Mark and Tony are looking forward to this week and working with this years ITV News trainees in Leeds. After an intensive year working within the regional newsrooms and at Daybreak and ITN they are tasked this week with producing a complete half hour Calendar News from scratch. Mark and Tony will help with the camerawork but otherwise they will produce, edit and present the entire programme, including weather and sport. Good luck girls!

Newcastle catch-up

Mark is in Newcastle this week catching up with the latest batch of ITV reporters being trained in camera skills. They have been shooting for the past month since their initial training and Mark is running an extended feedback session to find out how they are getting on. He is also giving them some Media Composer Edit training as they are unfamiliar with the differences between it and Newscutter that they have in their regions.

NEW XF305 COURSE - November 15th and 16th

We now have the dates for the next Canon XF305 camera course. It will be at Media City in Manchester on November 15th and 16th. This will be the first time that Camerasmith has run  a course at Media City and it will undoubtedly be very popular. The course is for a maximum of 6 and funding may be available. Creative Skillset have just released details of the latest TV Training fund.

More Skillset funding just announced

Today Creative Skillset have announced a new training fund for individuals looking for creative and production training. Up to £800 can be applied for.

Sony complete the XDCAM range

After film makers crying out for Sony to release HD approved handheld cameras they have finally obliged with a range of cameras that replace the very successful EX1 and Z5 models. They are all 50Mbps, 4:2:2 so match very well with the Canon XF range that have been the HD camera of choice for production in the last couple of years. The PMW-200 replaces the EX1R and thankfully is very similar in operation. The PMW-150 replaces the Z5 and is an easy switch with the same layout and focus controls. The PMW-100 is a single chip smaller camera that compares with the Canon XF100 model. All three use the same SxS card system and so thankfully match with the larger PMW 500 series. For more information:


Congratulations to all the ITV News trainees for successfully completing their camera training week at ITV Granada. They worked very hard at learning the new skills and the packages that they produced at the end of the week were very well shot and edited. See pictures at

The ITV News trainees of 2012

Mark and Tony are looking forward to the video journalist week with the ITV News trainees this year. The eight trainees will be spending the week at Granada Television at the beginning of September learning the skills of video journalism as part of their year long traineeship throughout ITV. 

Replacement for the EX1 camera

Sony have announced the launch of the PMW-200 as a direct replacement for the very good but aging EX1 and EX1R. The EX1 has always been constrained by the 35mbps 4:2:0 pictures which made them not immediately acceptable to Broadcasters as HD. So when Camerasmith put together it's HD upgrade course for Shiver Productions before they started shooting the first HD series of 'The Lakes' in 2010 It was necessary to bolt on an external hard drive to increase the bit rate to 50mbps. 

Now after the launch of Canon's XF305 with 50mbps 4:2:2 in 2011 Sony have finally caught up with the release of the PMW-200. It is operationally very similar to the EX1 which is good news for anyone use to using it and it will still shoot DVCAM for anyone imminently about to start shooting HD. The only caveat to shooting at 50mbps is that it can only be done to the still expensive SxS cards via the dual slots. A problem for anyone on a budget and used to using the much cheaper SD cards via the SxS adaptor.

For more information:

Advanced XF305 course

With most production staff requiring hands on experience of shooting on the Canon XF305 camera ITV Studios have asked Camerasmith to put together an advanced course for people who already shoot on the camera but wish to learn some more advanced techniques. The first course will be held at Granada TV in Manchester on the 13th and 14th of August.

Skillset approval for courses

Great news! Camerasmith's two most popular courses have been given Skillset approval. What does this mean?

The Skillset Tick is a kitemark of quality indicating industry approval for a wide range of products and services across the creative industries.

For a course to be awarded the Skillset Tick, it will have undergone a rigorous assessment process conducted by experts working in the creative industries. The Tick is only awarded to those courses that have the strongest links with industry.

This ensures that courses keep up with the rapid pace of change in the industries, and that trainees and students benefit from using the latest technologies and working practices.

For more information see

New funding available for training

Creative Skillset has a new pot of money available to enable freelancers to apply for a grant of up to £800 towards craft and technical, Safety or Producer training. 

For more information go to 

Freelancers want training

In the recent Broadcast Freelancer survey one of the big issues to be raised was the lack of development and training available for freelancers working in the industry. With production budgets regularly being cut few independent production companies are able to afford to invest in staff training. And with freelancers working longer hours or on shorter contracts it is very difficult for the individuals to be able to pay for career training that may enable them to progress in their chosen field.  

The best video camera in the world.

Televisual organised an interesting event at the Vue cinema in Leicester Square last night. Four short films were previewed, shot with the new Sony F65 camera. A full 4k CMOS digital film camera that is making waves in the film and corporate production worlds. A very interesting Q and A session followed with some of the DOPs and DITs who have been using the camera since it's launch earlier this year. Particularly inspirational was Nic Morris, DP (Alien 3, Spooks, Being Human) who said this camera would buck the trend of 3D because the detail and colour depth in the picture creates a feeling of reality that the gimic of 3D does not. It will though be some time before enough cinemas will be able to display full 4K pictures. Editing end to end 4k is still very difficult but companies are starting to rise to the challenge. Storing and copying the amount of data produced is also a challenge. With each hour of uncompressed 4:4:4 data taking up 1Tb of storage. Not a camera that video journalists will be using any time soon.

Canon C300 P2P session

Mark got some hands on time with the new Canon C300 full frame camera at a Bectu organised event in Manchester on the 22nd. The C300 is Canon's latest attempt to offer a cheaper film style camera that resolves some of the issues with the DSLRs such as the 5D and 7D. It is a cross between the Canon 5D mk2 and the XF305. It has the ability to use either Canon EF lenses or cinema style Arri PL lenses depending on the model bought. It is very sensitive in low light with little noise at even 10,000 ISO and has a very good LCD screen similar (if not identical) to the XF 305. It also has built in NDs and two xlr sockets to connect broadcast mics. Numerous rigs can be used with the camera which is great for shooting corporate or drama. But using it stripped down for news or   guerilla style filming is not as easy as with a DSLR. The weight is more noticeable. A very useful menu simulator and lots of info on the cameras can be found at  


Interesting new Sony Handycam

Sony announced recently a camera to compete with the Canon XF series that many self shooters are currently using as it ticks the BBC HD requirement of 50mbps and is 4:2:2. The Sony PMW100 camera looks like a very exciting handheld camera. It has a single 1/2.9" CMOS sensor and shoots to SxS cards which may make it an interesting VJ camera for the BBC and ITV who both use SxS cameras currently. It is almost half the weight of the Ex1R. It does though have only a 10x zoom (40 - 400mm 35mm equiv) and no BNC SDI output which is a shame. It is expected to start shipping at the end of May for about £2,700.

Super High Definition

Just as we are getting bored of high definition TV and for those not yet watching 3D TV the Japanese are hard at work developing Super high definition. And thankfully shooting hand held with it is a damn sight easier now they have shrunk it!

What are Mojos?

At a local tv conference held in Liverpool on May1st the term Mojos was used by speaker Simon Bucks from Sky News. And what are Mojos? They are an advanced form of VJ - a video journalist who is mobile - a mobile journalist. This is undoubtedly what Camerasmith have been developing over the past 3 years. ITV Regional Mojos.

In Praise of Bokeh

Paul Mason, BBC economics Editor talks about the changes in style now happening when shooting television news in this very thought provoking article.

New ITV News course for Nottingham

Several new reporters have been employed at ITV since Christmas so Mark has been asked to lead a new 8-day video journalist course at Terry Lloyd House in Nottingham. He will be supported by the very experienced Keith Wilkinson from ITV Central.

Royal Mail needs training

Mark has been asked by ITN Consulting to deliver some training for Royal Mail in London. The company has an in house television channel for employees to help deliver information and training to their 130,000 employees. Rather than using a paid (and staid) professional presenter they have chosen a postman and post woman to give a more natural style to the channel. So Mark and news pesenter Steve Gaisford will be spending the week giving them presenter skills including reading autocue, interviewing and doing ad lib links to camera. 

One to One training

Mark will be catching up with two previously trained reporters next week. Will Mott who is responsible for producing the Olympic news coverage for ITV Network News and Becky Broxton a reporter from ITV West. Mark will be training them on sending video material from their laptops using Newscaster and Launch software via the public highway - ie wifi and 3G. 

ITV News Awards

Mark and Tony have been asked to help judge some of the entries for the ITV Regional News Awards that will be presented in April. Much coffee and polite discussion will undoubtedly follow.

STV second Edinburgh course

Mark is back at the STV offices in Edinburgh this week for a new beginners video journalist course. Owing to maternity leave and other previously trained reporters moving on Mark will be working with three new reporters keen to start self-shooting.

BVE show at Earl's Court

This week sees the annual Broadcast Video Expo at Earl's Court in London. For any technophile or indeed anyone wanting to keep up to date with video technology this show is a must see. One of the key appearances will be the new Canon EOS C300 that is getting cameramen talking. It is Canon's latest large sensor video camera that will resolve many of the issues with the earlier game changing Canon 5D mk2 and 7D DSLR's. Although Canon has announced that it will be bringing out a 5D mk3 later this year.

Panasonic will have the HPX250 the first handheld P2 10-bit camera. And JVC will be showing the GY-HMQ10 4K camcorder.

First full ITV London course this week

Mark will be starting his first full ITV London video course this week. The four trainees will each be receiving the same Ex1R camera and sound kit as the regional Correspondents got last year and will each have an i7 laptop with Media Composer 6. Mark has some fun shooting scenarios lined up for the trainees during the week. On the Thursday they will each be shooting a self researched story around London with the support of the two mentors supporting Mark during the week.

Aberdeen's first video journalist course starts

The STV studio's in Aberdeen will be hosting their first video journalist course this week. Four of their Reporters will be provided with new Sony Z5 camera kits and Media Composer Laptops. Although it would make a good training exercise it is hoped that there is minimal snow during this first week of training. It is always a challenge learning to shoot when it is cold and wet and get's dark at 3pm!

Camera courses for London

As part of the One ITV policy Mark has been asked to roll out his 8-day camera training course to ITV London. He will be based down at ITN Gray's Inn Road for the next few months. Critical to the success of ITN starting to embrace self-shooting will be Camera Familiarisation courses for the News Executive. So Mark will be involved in organising two days in which the News Planners and Editors will get hands on with the camera kits and discuss deployment and health and safety issues.

More STV training

The training that Mark did at STV in Edinburgh and Glasgow earlier this year has been very successful. And so he has been asked back to roll out the training to the new regional news programmes going live in Dundee and Aberdeen in March. His 7 day video journalist course will be delivered in Aberdeen in January and in Edinburgh in February.

Jeremy Kyle training

ITV Studios have asked Mark to put together 3 camera courses for Jeremy Kyle production staff. The Executive Producer would like to shoot behind the scenes and especially in the dressing rooms where often explosive family arguments happen! Mark will be using the XF305 which Kyle will be buying and he will set-up some scenarios for the trainees to practice shooting in the very confined Granada Studio dressing rooms. These may involve lots of shouting and hitting things.

Correspondent training coming to an end

Over the next couple of weeks the 9 months of training that has been continuing at ITV Meridian with Mark and Tony is coming to an end. Between them they will have trained 138 people from ITV Regional News including all the Head's of  News, all regional correspondents, many of the craft cameramen, most of the ops managers and over half of the news executive from each of the 9 ITV regions including London. Oh yes and some guys from Daybreak as well. They are both looking forward to a quiet December!

XF305 Camera courses now available

Mark has been asked to put together a 2 day Canon XF305 course for ITV Studios. The 305 is the first small camera to be approved for full HD production at the BBC. ITV Studios have bought several of the cameras for in house production on a wide variety of programmes including Tonight. Mark has put together a new course which includes the principals of HD shooting and Tapeless workflow. He will be running courses in London and Manchester over the next few weeks.

ITN Camera Training

It has been announced that ITV London News will also now be receiving camera training and full camera kits as part of the Camerasmith Correspondent training in Southampton. A total of 14 extra reporters and producers will be upskilled and another three weeks of courses will be scheduled.

Daybreak on board

With the success of the Correspondent training courses being run by Camerasmith at ITV Meridian ITV have decide to extend the training to Daybreak. So this week Tony is training up three of the regional Daybreak reporters. The reporters struggle to get camera crews very often and are looking forward to gaining the skills to be able to self shoot.

ITV News training starts

The new ITV training courses have started in earnest this week. After two weeks of familiarisation courses for the regional newsdesks Mark and Tony have started the 8-day courses for all the ITV Correspondents. Camerasmith is very grateful for all the training support from the staff at ITV Merdian, especially from the Head of News Robin Britton who even helped mop the floor of the training room.

New ITV News training initiative announced today

After the great success of the ITV reporter camera training since 2009 ITV today announced the next stage as part of it's long awaited news review. Mark and Tony will be working with ITV News Group over the next 9 months to plan and deliver camera training to all of ITV's regional correspondents. A similar training schedule will be used as for the very successful reporter courses. A full weeks intensive course will be followed by a month starting to shoot back in their regions with good mentor support. The training will then conclude with a 3 day follow-up which will include a detailed feedback session, lighting techniques and sending video material remotely.

Scottish Television

Today STV has announced a new pilot news scheme.  They intend to produce a separate half hour STV News for East Scotland. Mark, working via ITN Consulting has been asked to produce and deliver a video journalist training course to support the new service.

Bobby Hain, the STV director of channels, said: "We are excited by the increased focus on local TV services and the opportunities presented by digital technology to deliver this.

"Based on the success of our micro-regional news bulletins and the early success of STV Local, we believe this service will enable us to continue to strengthen our relationship with our audiences through providing high quality and locally focused services."

Early January catch-up

Mark is looking forward to a three-day catch-up with the ITV journalists he trained in November. A key part of the video journalist training he does is to follow up the intensive first week with a feedback session after a month. The trainees are asked to bring a package they have shot and edited to review and this helps illustrate how they are getting on and any issues they are having. They also get some more in depth training, including how to light interviews, shoot tapelessly and send packages remotely from their laptops.

ITV News Group trainees

Mark and Tony have their hands full this week working with the 8 talented ING trainees for 2010. Each journalist has spent the year working in an ITV region and this week they are producing two half hour news programmes at Yorkshire TV. Mark and Tony will be supporting them by acting as their news cameramen. The week gives the trainees a chance to showcase their writing, producing and onscreen skills in two "Calendar" programmes shot on consecutive nights. Keith Wilkinson, a correspondent and experienced self shooter from Central ,will support them in any self shooting during the week. Mark and Tony gave the trainees a full video journalist course earlier on in the year.

BBC finally decide on HD cameras

The BBC have finally announced which HD cameras they will be buying for News. Not the Panasonic 3100 or the Sony PMW500 as originally thought but the Sony PMW350L. This camera uses 3 x 2/3" cmos recording to SxS at 35Mbps. Different to the PMW500 which has 3 x 2/3 CCD and records 50Mbps to SxS. The 350L is about £6,000 cheaper and uses an LCD viewfinder rather than a CRT monitor.

The BBC are ordering in the region 210 x 350s and 30 x 500s each with two SDHC adaptor cards to enable the cameras to record to the cheaper SD cards.

New ITV Reporter course

Mark will be back in Birmingham for the week of November 21st to deliver another Camera training course for newly employed ITV regional news reporters. It will be slightly more challenging than many of the previous courses run. Firstly because the ITV Central News room has shrunk and finding shooting locations will be more challenging. And second because its going to be cold, wet and dark!

For some reason Mark's suggestion to move all future courses to California has not been approved.

HD Camera decision by the BBC

Many freelance cameramen have been waiting several years to   upgrade their cameras until the BBC have confirmed which camera models will be acceptable for HD broadcast.   The wait is nearly over!   Within a few days the BBC will confirm which cameras they will be purchasing for use on News and Feature programmes. It looks like it may be either the Panasonic 3100 or the Sony PMW 500.

Released after IBC the new Panasonic model replaced the heavier and more power hungry 3000. It can shoot AVC Intra 100, a good codec, on P2 cards and will retail for about £18k.

The Sony camera  is the first full size, tapeless camera to record at 50mbps on to SxS cards. It will retail for around £21k.

Canon XF305 to replace Sony Z1

Shortly after the BBC have accepted the new Canon XF305 as a suitable for HD broadcast they have placed an order for 50 to replace the ageing Z1 cameras at DV solutions. The 305 is an exciting small camera able to shoot at 50Mbps on to two compact flash cards.

Alan Roberts the BBC camera guru has done an extensive review of the camera see

BBC Academy

Mark has been asked by the BBC Academy in Wood Norton to sit in on the courses Location Camera Skills 1 and 2 over the next two weeks. He is excited about this as he will be working with cameraman (and Legend!) Andrew Vale who taught him camera skills 13 years ago. The BBC would like Mark to be up to speed with the courses so that he will be able to help deliver them in future.

Political correspondents catch-up

Mark has been back at ITV Millbank offices for a catch-up session with the political correspondents he trained in September. The first day was spent looking at how they are getting to grips with the cameras and giving feedback on their experiences shooting at the Party Conferences. The second day involved some more advanced techniques including how to shoot pieces to camera and a look at the use of lighting to improve interviews. 

Training in Sharjah almost complete

It has been confirmed that John will be returning to Sharjah TV to continue Media Composer training in November. The camera training should be finished in the next week. Last week was spent in the classroom for the cameramen and assistants and this week they start shooting on the Panasonic 2100 cameras with Mark testing the end to end workflow. The plan devised is for each cameramen to take only 2 x 64gb cards for each shoot and format both immediately. This will delete all previous media. Then they will remove one card as a spare. This should avoid any ingest issues with spanned clips and still give them 2 hours recording on the one card. Mark has also devised a labelling system to ensure no cards or media get lost and all files are copied to the correct Avid bin on the Isis server. But the proof of the pudding as they say!

Final training at Sharjah TV

Mark and John have, most likely, their final trips out to UAE in October. They have been working with ITN Consulting in retraining cameramen and editors at Sharjah TV since March this year. Mark will be working with the Sharjah Cameramen and assistants on the newly purchased  Panasonic P2 cameras and John will be working with the editors and jounalists on the newly installed Avid IT systems including Isis, Inews and Media Composer 5.  As part of the camera upgrade mark has also specified HD lenses, radio mics and a good selection of  lighting and sound kit to improve the quality of programming on the channel. The channel is due to relaunched on October 20th.  An auspicious day 20/10 2010.

Radio Mic frequencies - good news

For those of you with older radio mics that use Channel 69. Ofcom has agreed to financially support the purchase of replacement radio mics when the frequencies are switched off in 2012. Although it will not reimburse the full cost it will pay in the region of 50% of the replacement cost.

The company Equiniti will be managing the payments and you need to register your equipment between September 23rd and the end of December 2010.

For more information see:

Party Conferences

Mark will be doing a weeks course at ITV Millbank during September. ITV have upgraded the facilities in the Millbank studios to include Avid Newscutters and several Sony Z5 camera and laptop edit kits.  

  Mark will be delivering his 5-day video journalist course for the political correspondents ahead of the party conference season. This will enable the journalists to supplement the camera crews shooting at the conferences. During the training week the correspondents will be researching, shooting and editing a 1 1/2 minute package around Westminster.

Summer One 2 Ones

In the quiet month of August Mark is doing some one to one courses in Manchester and Maidstone for Journalists who have new job roles in the pipe line. Even with some previous camera experience they feel that having a refresher course on an individual basis where particular issues can be addressed and their confidence greatly increased. For the three days Mark is doing in Maidstone he has been asked to include some FCP training. The journalist is already an experienced Avid editor but would like to understand the differences due to some potential video journalism work editing on Final Cut.

Tapeless Camera Training

After the success of the EX1 training for Shiver Productions. Camera trainer Tony will be working with Shiver in Leeds for a new series "May the Best House" It is a new Daytime ITV1 series that sees the owners of some of Britainís most interesting and unusual homes compete against each other in a bid to win a cash prize. It is a fast turn around where the crews will be shooting on EX1, tapeless for the first time. It is due to air in the autumn.

Z1 Camera Courses

Mark will be delivering several camera courses for ITV Studios in July. There are a number of programmes commisoned for new series who have staff in need of some hands on Z1 training. He will be working with researchers and APs for programmes such as "Come Dine with Me", "This Morning" and "Four Weddings"

For the complete novices he will be running the 2-day Z1 beginners course at Grays Inn Road. But for the more experienced shooters he will be running several 1-day improvers courses that build on their current skills with some fun practicals.

Shiver Productions ask for help shooting on the EX1

Tony will be working with Shiver Productions updating their camera skills for the new series of The Lakes and a new series called The Dales. It is the first time that the production teams are shooting in HD. They are using the Sony EX1 cameras. Tony will be talking them through the camera set-up and how to record tapeless onto SD card. The teams will be shooting over the course of 6 weeks and following a variety of interesting characters for the ITV1 programmes. Originally ITV was wanting the crews to shoot at 50mbps which would have required using the nanoflash. But it was agreed that the more complicated work flow (and heavier rigs) would limit their ability to respond to developing stories.

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