CCI – Vision Mixing

CCI…what is that? CCI stands for Creative and Cultural industries where myself and many other creative students spend our days (and many nights). It is a magical place where dreams come true (if you have put the work in) and a place that is bursting with ideas! It is a place where you can see drama students performing a flash mob in the canteen whilst a Live TV broadcast is happening 20 meters away. You can walk around this place and hear students practicing the piano (why does everyone love to play chopsticks?!) and might even be lucky enough to see some of the motion capture’s Ping-Pong style outfits…

So, it made perfect sense for us (when I say us I am talking about the production team that I have been in this year) for us to demonstrate what CCI is all about to an outsider.

This was the first broadcast of the year for the CCI TV Channel, which is the University of Portsmouth’s Television channel. All content for the channel is created through the University and gives us students an amazing chance to develop skills in live broadcasts! How exciting ayyy??

Here is the CCI show if you were unable to watch it on the Television Broadcasting page and like I mentioned a lot of work goes into these shows so please do watch to know more about the magical land of CCI.

Since CCI was the first show it gave our production team a challenge to set the year off to a flying start. As a newbie, to this course year, it was really exciting for me especially as I was working with all new people! With my knowledge of CCI (not just from the course but from the placement year that I undertook in the Faculty) it allowed me to throw lots of ideas out there to the group.  

I put myself down for the Vision Mixer role as I have always wanted a go at live editing. From presenting at the Bournemouth Air Festival (follow link for more info on that) I could see the vision mixer in action and it really appealed to me!

You might be asking yourself ‘What is a vision mixer?’, well that’s exactly what I thought before doing this role. I knew that it was to cut between the live cameras but needed to know what was expected of me to do the role effectively. 

From looking on Creative Skillset (which is a useful page for any industry roles) I found the following:

“During recording or live transmission, Vision Mixers work with the Director to visually create the programme. Vision Mixers must be able to multitask, as they may be required to cut from shot to shot during a live interview at the same time as listening to the Producer’s instructions to the Director about the next item to be transmitted, at the same time as setting up the next transition on the effects bank, at the same time as listening to the Production Assistant’s countdown to the next item.”

How do you become a decent vision mixer then? Practice…I had a tutorial with a member of the University staff to learn how to use the mixing desk. This saved time in rehearsal as I was up to speed with what button did what. As a vision mixer you are the Director’s ‘second pair of eyes’ but should also get into the habit of being the first pair too, which develops your initiative. This is in case something happens which the director misses and a quick cut is needed. In my case this did happen but the Director gave me freedom to cut around different shots which I felt worked well. This was needed as we did have a rather long interview so the cuts made it seem like more was happening on screen. 

I also did some editing for this production as I am a confident editor. We used Avid Media Composer so it was good to come straight back to Uni and get onto the Avid software again. Avid is the industry standard editing software: 

“Knowing your way around Avid will give you more knowledge of the world of editing, and it will make you a more prospective asset to the industry.” – Cooper M.

Have a look on Raindance for five reasons why video editors should use Avid.

This show developed my skills with live video editing and working within a new group of people. This was challenging at points as we were unsure of everyone’s skillsets and time management as a group was difficult. It taught me that we needed a lot more planning as a group as we were having to finish off pre-production things very close to the deadline. I have learnt during this process that as the producer, everything needs to be thoroughly planned with the group aware of time scales in advance. This was an important learning point for me, that communication with the group is essential to ensure that deadlines will be met. 

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Watch the video below to see how important learning Avid is when going into the TV Industry.

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