The opportunity to be involved on a project with the FA came about early December 2010. On Wednesday 8th December I attended a meeting with Sunny Sahota, a graduate of Coventry University, who works as a recruitment/development official for the Football Association.
The brief was clear:
The proposition is for a group of students from media advertising, animation and production, working as a team, to produce a promotional DVD package for the FA. The DVD should run for no more than ten minutes. It should contain live footage of the work of the FA in the West Midlands region. It should promote the full range of the FA’s activities, including its disability centre; coaching courses; refereeing courses; social inclusion projects; women’s football; and county youth team. To make sure the DVD is as inclusive as possible the number of locations featuring in the video should be maximised. The region covered by the FA ranges includes Tamworth, Burton-on-Trent, Nuneaton, Coventry, Leamington Spa, Stratford-upon-Avon, Redditch, the Black Country, Walsall, as well as Birmingham itself. To ensure the visuals do not reproduce tired old clichés she would like video footage to be livened up with on-screen animations as well as animated sections. Finally, the DVD will need to be suitably packaged (with attractive and appropriate illustrations) and promoted (in addition the FA is looking for further sponsorship for its extensive activities).
The DVD package will be circulated to schools, colleges, and community groups in the region covered by the FA.
The completed video will be uploaded on the FA’s website and will run with full credits for those students who worked on the project. Similarly the DVD packaging will also feature full credits for the students who worked on the project. Finally, students in the team which produced the DVD package will be able to include it in their showreels and portfolios as an example of a successful real-world project.
After Sunny’s presentation those of us interested in the project decided to meet and discuss how we could possibly go about it. Firstly we introduced ourselves and pitched our strengths and weaknesses so we had a greater understanding of each others abilities. I mentioned how my technical skills using cameras, ability to communicate well with others and my reliability was stronger than my ability to edit and I was confident that I could contribute these skills to the team. As the footage was all to be filmed live and on location, I believed I was able to produce some high quality footage which could be used on the final DVD. In this meeting we arranged to set up a Facebook group whereby all members would be able to contact each other via social media. All of us were therefore able to discuss meeting arrangements and plan well in advance when we were available for shooting on each of the different locations.
On one of my days working on this project, our brief was to capture footage of an indoor game of football between a large group of young disabled children in Duddeston, a small town within Birmingham. Myself, along with Shaun Jacques, Anca Chifor and Alex Hacking took a train from Coventry station and arrived at Duddeston early on January 27th to get set up ready for the arrival of the disabled children and their friends.
Here is a short video I produced while there. NOTE: This was purely for personal use, and was filmed on my Sony Handycam, this is not the footage we will be using.
I took this opportunity to improve my technical skills with a camera, and as I am fluent in using both the SonyZ1 and Z5, this was not a problem. The problem however was the white balance setting, due to the low level of orange-tinted lighting in the sports hall. This problem was not much of an issue as the footage we captured was of a high enough standard to counteract this. We managed to get close-ups of laughter, interaction between children and support workers, and a variation of wide/low/high angle shots, which was our main aim.
As this was to only be one section of the overall video, we took around 30 minutes of footage over the entire day. This 30 minutes would last approximately 20 seconds to one minute in the final video, so we definitely made sure we had enough selection of footage and a variation of shots to include. I had to sign a declaration form at the reception in order to grant us access to film there, however by this time we ad already filmed what we required.. oops. I know for next time to contact the reception of the place I will be filming at in advance to iron out any problems that could arise with licensing.
I thoroughly enjoyed working in Duddeston, and on the rest of the FA project, but as I am not as confident with editing as I know others on the team are, I will not be participating in the post-production phase, but I cannot wait for the finished piece to be completed. This experience has enabled me to work more efficiently within a team with assigned roles, interact with the public and taught me that pre-production, organisation and planning is just as important as the production stage.