Saturday, June 26, 2010


End on shotThis post was going to start with the lyrics from the theme of the TV series Fame. Then I took a look at them and realised just how rubbish they are, so nuts to that.

The reason for this trip into 80's nostalgia was that I have just made a bid for a bit of fame myself. Last Friday I visited the studios of Ashdown TV, home of several handicraft based Internet TV channels. With me was Melbridge Dock and The Melbridge Box Company as I was going to be filmed for ModelRailway.TV

The studios are in a business centre near Arundel. We parked up and met the crew, Jaspar and Tug who were camera, sound and studio engineers for the day. After a little discussion about the viability of getting the bulky Dock boards up a spiral staircase, the layout were taken upstairs by a straight run of steps and down a corridor. This was a bit of a surprise as downstairs is half a shed which normally acts as the set for programmes. Apparently this has been a bit over-exposed and the guys wanted to use the proper studio which allows for much better lighting.

Most of the Dock was set up. We didn't use the lighting or fascia - that later would have been in the way of the bank of ceiling lights that were carefully positioned. They felt these would be a better bet than a couple of Ikea spots ! Apart from a sticky point motor and a dry joint - both easily remedied - things were working well. That's more than can be said for the looks. We'd obviously put the model away with a touch of damp in it last time as mould spores were growning in the plastic cobbles ! These rubbed off OK with a bit of work from a damp handkerchief and stiff paint brush. I'll be taking a better look at this in the future. For now the layout is stored without any wrapping, it normally lives in a plastic bag, to let the air circulate.

Once set up there was another surprise. Previous films had involved the layout owner and an interviewer. No one had mentioned it but I didn't get someone asking questions, the plan was for me to do the piece single handed. After a little planning my hospital radio waffling experience combined with the practise afforded by giving a few conference presentations stood me in good stead. I was asked for ten minutes and didn't shut up for twenty. One take, mostly remembering to look into the correct camera and hopefully not sounding too stupid. The crew were nice and said it sounded good, but I expect that the editing process will involve a certain amount of turd polishing.

After I'd finished one of the cameras went on a boom, the other was augmented with a macro lens and lots more filming ensued. Trains ran back and forth so all the camera positions could be tried. Being a bit of a novice here, I was particularly impressed with the camera on the boom which swung along the frontage as well as giving helicopter views..

Melbridge Town filmingLunch (sandwiches) was followed by filming for the box file. Again I gave it my spiel, mostly about micro layouts this time, and again this seemed to go OK. We've put a nice shot together for the end - me packing up the model and walking off.

The whole process took about 6 hours. I've no idea how long the finished product will be but will let you know once it's live. Unless I look like a complete idiot, in which case I'll be keeping quiet.

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