Bislett Games 2012

This is actually a post I’ve been meaning to write for over a week, but just haven’t found the time to do so.

Bislett Stadion, the stadium hosting the Bislett Games

Last Thursday the annual Bislett Games, an international track and field event, took place at Bislett Stadium in Oslo. Being a big international event that is part of the Diamond League the event is broadcasted every year. In charge of the production was the NRK, and being an intern there I got to be part of it. I operated one of the standard camera with a wide shot during the running events so nothing too cool. What was cool, however was the fact that this actually became my first ever job on an internationally broadcasted production!

How many cameras can you spot?

The production of Bislett Games is a pretty huge one. There was 30-something cameras in use. Some normal TV-cameras mounted on tripods, but a lot of other special cameras. In addition to the more conventional cranes and Steadicams, some more unconventional cameras and equipment was used. Such as a wirecam with a stabilized Cineflex camera, rail camera, remote-controlled cameras, and mini-cameras. Some of these systems such as the wire camera was actually developed by a guy at the NRK who specializes in engineering custom-made special cameras.

HD1 and HD2. NRK’s newest and largest OB-trailers.

The car park for the production was quite large. Two HD OB-trailers and three SNG vans. In addition there was a number of transport vehicles. 4-5 trucks and a number of vans to transport personnel and equipment.

A small part of the carpark.

Needless to say a production of this size require preparation. A total of three days was used to pull cables, rig cameras and equipment. All for a show that lasted an evening. Now a little bit of numbers and  fun facts:

  • The production used over 30 cameras.
  • Required over 8000 meters of cables.
  • 2 state of the art HD OB busses was used. Track events was being produced simultaneously as field events. Two simultaneous productions were made; one national and one international.
  • The international broadcast was broadcasted to 159 countries.

Bislett Game 2012. The event was sold out and the stadium was packed!

Pilot

Another interesting day of my internship today. NRK was producing a pilot for a new show and I was behind the camera.

Can’t really go into details about the concept, but I can say the show was a typical Friday/Saturday night entertainment show for the whole family. You know, that kind of thing. Not the most exciting thing I’ve done, photography wise, however what was interesting was to see how the pilot was produced.

This was the first pilot for this show and so it was a pretty crude production. Normally one can expect 2 or 3 pilots before the show is greenlit and the actual production starts. This first pilot was more just to show the concept in action, to see if it works and if it is something there worth working on and refine further. There was no props or sets developed for the show, so they simply used sets and props from other shows. NRK has a large collection of costumes and props and dressing elements so they had no problem coming up with something.

Camera wise it was interesting, because while the producer had an idea of what shots he wanted we were encouraged to try to find possible angles and try out stuff, to see what kind of solutions could be used. It was a pretty straight forward set-up so there wasn’t really anything too cool and groundbreaking, but it was interesting to see how a pilot is made and it gave a little insight in how the development of a TV-show works.

So, now we’ll have to wait and see how it goes. Maybe sometime next year it’ll be greenlit and come into production. Who knows?

First Time Shooting Football

Today was my first ever experience with filming a football match. And by “football” I mean football as in kick the ball with your feet and don’t use your hands…

The match was between Kongsvinger and Start, in the Norwegian 1. division. The hole thing was part of my internship at NRK. NRK don’t actually air the match themselves, but are hired to produce matches for another channel, TV2. Today was my first time doing something like this, so this was an interesting new experience. My camera was a hand held one, mainly for use in interviews with players and coaches before and after the match. I was positioned on the opposite side of the field from all the other cameras, hence my camera was almost never used during the match due to the fact that it would break the axis. However, I did get some shots when teams changed players and also some of the one team celebrating the only goal in the match.

Now, the match was not all that exciting. However, the home teams coach is notorius for his tempremet. He got into some pretty heated discussions with the referee which gave me the oppertunity to get some cool shots and that made it a whole lot more interesting for me.

All in all a fun experience, but a bit exhausting. We started early this morning and I just got back, after almost 12 hours. I’ll probably go to bed early tonight!

 

Virtual reality

Yesterday I had a fun time at the NRK. I got to be part of the crew making the daily children TV-show!

“Barne-TV” as it is called is probably one of the longest running TV-shows in Norway. It airs every day at 18.00 and it’s a half hour show that consist of a host welcoming and introducing cartoons. We were just going to film the host so in one day we filmed a bunch of shows.

The show only had one photographer. At first I was put on a second camera that usually was remote-controlled, used just to pick up close-ups of objects and such. After lunch though, I was put behind the main camera. This show didn’t have cameracards and the photographers just kind of had to make up stuff on the go. The general rule was to keep it simple and keep and keep important objects large in the frame, because the audience is about 4 years old.

It was a lot of fun to try, and it was my first experience working with a dolly other than rehearsal. Another first for me, was to work on the green screen. While I’ve worked with keying before, I’ve never worked on this scale. The coolest part was that is was keyed live, so by looking at the camera return I got to see the image as it would turn out. Even better if I moved the camera, the background moved accordingly. This is not that a big deal, and I probably shouldn’t be as impressed as I was, but working in this virtual environment was really cool!

Start of an internship

The past days I’ve been introduced to a lot of new things. I’ve travelled to Oslo, moved into student housing, and started my internship at NRK. The latter, of course, is the most interesting.

So to my internship so far. Day one was mostly a tour of the facilities, saying ‘Hello’ to some people and getting to know the place. The NRK have some huge facilities spread out over several buildings, that house both TV and radio as well as a public visitors center. I’ve only familiarized myself with the Television House. Or at least parts of it…

Day two was equipment introduction. Familiarizing myself with dollies and cameras and getting a little bit of hands on training with the studio dollies.

Day three was more equipment introduction. This time with the focus on OB-equipment. NRK, like any major broadcaster, does a lot of OB-work. They maintain two brand new, state of the art, HD OB-busses and a third is on it’s way. I got a tour of one of the busses with one of the TOMs and it was a pretty impressive set up! There was no set back when it came to equipment or possibilities. In fact while they update the control room for one of the main studios with HD equipment, they are using the bus outside as a temporary control room.

All in all it’s been a couple of first days with lot of new and cool things.