Friday, 25 January 2008

BlockStack does GB Open

GB D again
Originally uploaded by BlockStackSteve
I went down to the GB Open practice that took place at Loughborough University with the plan to film some practice stuff, maybe get a bit of action on film to, with some clever editing , give those who watch the clip a bit of a scare and also get some interviews with the players we can use as profiles on the show.

Well the first thing that went wrong was I got there later than I wanted and nobody was there! Thankfully there were tons of bags and discs all over the artificial turf pitch indicating I at least had the right pitch. Oh yeah they were practising on this high-tech artificial turf. Take a close look at any of the pics and tell me it doesn't look like grass. It was pretty sweet stuff. The give away was it was probably the only grass in England at the moment that wasn't flooded.

So, eventually they returned to the pitch after a bit of a team talk inside the nearby warmth of a meeting room. I then managed to get a few early interviews with a couple of the guys based on a bit of a script we'd written for them to answer.

The Script:
This was the plan...we'll right some questions on a piece of paper, they could read them all in advance, and then deliver the answers to the camera without pressure, cool and calm. Right? Not so much, however, some of the reactions I got were great, some were almost professional and others were near on autistic but nevertheless entertaining.

Afterwards I was excited and ready to film some action and was promptly told they were going to play offence vs defence and that I couldn't film it. : (. Bollocks. I can only imagine this was because they were aware of the vast appeal of BlockStack and simple knew that teams like Sockeye, Furious and Skogs would be glued to the broadcast looking for the Achilles heal of the GB team. Well because I know that all good players do watch the podcast on a regular basis this was a well founded precaution. So I didn't film. I did take a few good profile shots and out of about 250 crap pics I managed to scrape a few good ones as well. Thank goodness I brought my camera otherwise I'd have just be there getting very cold and wet. Afterwards I got a few good snaps and a couple more interviews, enough to make it worthwhile.

Personally it was superb because although I couldn't film the tactics of the open team I did get to watch and learn. So, look for the new book from BlockStack soon to hit good Ultimate shops near you 'How to Play Ultimate like Great Britain Open' and of course watch BlockStack Episode three for the GB Open featurette.

Friday, 11 January 2008

Episode 1: The Making of....

Originally uploaded by BlockStackSteve

Hosts: Steve Giguere and Tom Styles
Crew: Allison Baron and Cat Styles
Camera: JVC Everio MG505 3CCD Harddisk Video Camera.
Sound: Cheap wireless tie clip mics and a mixer.
Subjects: Photo News, Christmas gifts (The Powerball), Ultimatum, The Top 5 Ultimate Frisbee things of 2007 in the UK and the Great Barr Crawl Tournament.

Behind the Scenes:
We filmed this over the holidays. We had planned on filming it on New Years Eve and then ended up doing it just prior with the idea that we'd pretend it was New Years Eve but that didn't really work out. This was the first episode and we really wanted it to go off in a single take. That is the plan for most of the episodes so this isn't any clever editing and you can a real feel for the 'anything goes' aspect of it. The problem was our skeleton of a plan for it didn't take into account the ramblings that inevitably followed which made our plan of 30 to 45 mins extend into over an hour. Oops. As a result we release it in two parts.

We had all sorts of technical problems with the sound. First we had bought two wireless mics. We then found out the frequency of the wireless could not be adjusted so we could only use one at a time. We had an idea to get a two to one input jack and put both mics into one unit. Great right! Wrong. The mics had a special screw it connection so the whole time we're talking we're one wrong move from the whole sound contraption falling apart. That's mainly why we're trying not to move very suddenly the whole time.

The last issue really was the lighting. What you can't see is ever light in my house piled around us and aimed straight at the couch. The camera is placed just right so it seems to clip out all of them. The camera was actually the only thing that worked really well. I highly recommend it.

What else....the freakin dog kept trying to jump on us...the crew forgot to turn off their mobile phones so I had to filter out that...'dit...ditadit...ditadit....' sound thoughout the first half of the video. LOTS of white balance work and hiss and humm removal required on the sound but I think it turned out ok.

Oh one last issue was my mic was facing the wrong direction almost the whole time. You could hear me ok but not good enough.

Lessons learned: Sound is critical. We're getting another mic at a different frequency (this is getting expensive now) and we'll do more sound checks next time. Also...going on for over an hour combined with mulled wine = more rambling. We've got a better idea of how long things take now so we'll be doing shorted episodes more often.

We've got over 200 views on each part so far...hooray!