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I shot: Brother and England at Wembley

Due to my commitments on GoalMouth and also to the fact that he’s got more staff now, I haven’t done much for Sheephead at FATV recently. In fact those who knew Channelbee will be happy to hear that Joe’s not only got Jon Dyson but also Tony ‘the Hammer’ Watson on board now which is great news as he’s a top bloke who knows his football even if you can’t understand what he’s saying most of the time. So naturally I was happy to get the call to do a day with the team up at Wembley covering for Dyson who was on U21 duty.

FATV seem to be growing as an operation and now have tv giants Endemol behind them so I fully expect them to go from strength to strength; think of the assets they have at their disposal (England players/footage, FA Cup) and the huge fanbase (pretty much anyone who’s interested in football) and you can see I’m hardly going out on a limb there. Joe and his team have the access, they have the creative experience and vitally they have the trust of the hierarchy at the FA and the end result is a great example of what branded content should be; it engages the audience whilst promoting the product. They’re not taking it easy either; on Saturday at various times I think I counted 8 pieces in production. That’s a lesson to any brands seeking to get into video; one glossily produced corporate or brand promo does not a digital audience make, unless you get lucky with one of those elusive ‘virals’. In my humble opinion little and often is the key to building brand awareness and eventually loyalty through video.

8 pieces on the go in one day also meant I was in for a pretty full-on day’s graft. First up was a 3 camera acoustic set and interview featuring Brother, hosted by ESPN’s Richard Lenton. Lighting conditions weren’t ideal and it was a fast turnaround in edit so it’s pretty rough and ready but we prioritised getting the piece out before kickoff rather than making it look and sound prettier:

Channelbee trivia point about Richard Lenton: he appeared as a guest in the original pilot show for the project. Back then he worked at Sky but not on camera, and came to us with a brilliant clip he had of him when he blagged his way onto an African channel as a presenter during the World Cup. During one game his co-presenter was caught short whilst he was on air…cue a lot of jiggling in his seat and an eventual panic dash off camera whilst Richard tried to hold the fort. Wish I could find the clip on YouTube…

Back to Wembley, and Brother duly edited and uploaded, next job was pitchside to pick up whatever I could for a low angle perspective on the game. I may have been 10 feet away from the Swiss keeper but I can tell you, crouched behind the goal isn’t the way to watch football. Stuck without a stool, hunched over a tripod just high enough to peek over the hoarding but low enough not to attract the wrath of the fans in Row A, sweltering under the mid-afternoon sun wrestling with temperamental kit…so I couldn’t tell you how we played but it was certainly a buzz. Then a mad dash into the tunnel for half-time, a desperate swap of cameras and off out onto the pitch with the England Women’s team for their official send off to the World Cup. Back into the tunnel for interviews with some of the Women’s team, back pitchside for midway through the second half, another mad dash upstairs after full time and another hurried edit to get the pitchside cut up on the site for 10pm. Again, priority for the edit was to get it up as soon as possible rather than creating a masterpiece, but I think it’s always interesting to view action from a different angle and here it is:

Today I edited the interviews with the Women’s team so that’s up now:

A pretty full-on day but as I say, I really believe in what FATV are doing and it’s a pleasure to put the hours in with them. Looks like I could be heading out to Germany to be the videographer for the Women’s team at the World Cup which if it happens would be a real honour.

I shot: Matt Le Tissier (again)

Matt Le Tiss is one of my favourite footballers. Pure class on the pitch in his day, now pure gent off it. I had the good fortune to meet him a couple of times back in the Soccer AM days and our paths have now crossed twice more in the past year, first for an 888 video pre-World Cup, and back in February for an FATV shoot. Partly due to his experience on the box and undoubtedly equally because he’s generally a top bloke, you know that when you’ve got a shoot with him, he’ll give you exactly what you need without any fuss.

We were at Warsash Wasps FC, regional winners of the FA Charter Standard Development Club award last year, to help launch this year’s nomination process for the FA Community Awards http://www.thefa.com/yourgame and after a tour of the (very impressive) club he gave me an interview on his early days, influences and memories in football:

While we were there I picked up a few more bits with him including his fantasy 5-a-side team (edited by FATV):

It was the first outing for my new rig including my new Canon 70-200mm F4 IS lens which was pretty essential for the football action, and all in all I was pretty pleased with the result. Part of the problem with filming mostly ‘run and gun’, reality style pieces is that it’s tough to get those perfect shots and there’s always a degree of compromise but I think the key is to have a plan. Yes, 90% of the time that plan will change with the weather, the schedule and usually the talent, but a plan is a good place to start!

I shot: Rio Ferdinand

It’s been a while.  Far too long, but I’ve had a few months of solid work and haven’t had the energy to keep this up.  It’s a poor show and defeats the object of starting the site in the first place but I’ve had to forego forward planning in order to meet all my deadlines.  I will catch up though and will try to do a blog covering recent jobs but restarting where I mean to go on, this is what I was up to on Sunday.

The England captain took a trip back to his boyhood club, Eltham Town

Rio Ferdinand at Eltham Town FC

to promote e-on’s ‘Energy Fit’ campaign, in particular their ‘Club Makeover’ competition which is offering amateur football clubs the chance to get an energy saving makeover worth around £40k.  The e-on team decked out the club’s facilities with swanky stuff like solar panels, energy saving lights and even hot water, and Rio was given a tour before hitting the mud and coaching the young pups outside.

Rio Ferdinand and young players at Eltham Town FC

I have to say I didn’t know much about the club beforehand but I was really impressed with their setup, fancy lights or no fancy lights, and I couldn’t help thinking that the national game can’t be in that bad a state if there are clubs like Eltham Town around.

We then had a quick chat with Rio

Rio Ferdinand speaking to FATV at Eltham Town FC, Nov 2010

about the e-on project and the France game, where he revealed that he can’t contemplate losing because of the stick he’d get from Evra when he returned to training.  It was the second time I’ve interviewed him in 6 months and although he clearly didn’t remember me, Rio was professional as ever.  I’m a big fan of his because he’s clearly got more in his locker than booting a ball around and I genuinely believe he cares about the projects he gets involved with.

An unexpected bonus of the day was catching up with old Soccer AM and Channelbee mucker Fenners in his new capacity as tv personality, complete with showbiz scarf.  Always good to see him and I’m so happy he’s back in the Sky fold as on-screen talent.  I’m ashamed to say that I haven’t seen his new show Take It Like A Fan yet but I’ve only just signed up to Sky Sports again; must do that this week.

I’m editing the bits and pieces today so I’ll post a link when they’re up.

(Shot on Sony PMW EX1)

I shot: Steve Gibson and Niall Quinn

So, day 2 of the big FIFA Inspection visit, at the very well appointed Rockliffe Hall near Darlington.

Rockliffe Hall

After a hugely unexpected but welcome catch-up with my sister in law who was there filming for ITV (you know a family has their priorities wrong when they find out what each others kids are up to within the confines of a media pen), the delegation arrived in their very flash helicopter

A big helicopter

which may seem an irrelevant detail to you but for me who has a fear of flying and who was due to get in it (twice) a day later, it was pretty significant and more than a little reassuring to see that it wasn’t a rustbucket.  Apparently it belongs to Mr al Fayed and is the only one in the country; a Sikorsky S-92 if you care about these things.  All I cared about was whether or not it looked like it would get me to Manchester in one piece.

So the shoot was following the delegation around Boro’s training facility at Rockliffe Hall, hosted by Steve Gibson (it’s his pad, apparently, and a very nice one indeed) and Niall Quinn.  Disappointingly for me, they didn’t get the always entertaining Gordon Strachan on the case as well although I can understand that his priorities don’t necessarily lie with England.  All fairly straightforward; they took in a youth game then went inside to the indoor pitch, changing rooms, video and treatment room.

Niall Quinn and Steve Gibson host the FIFA Inspection Team

For the important people it was then on to dinner; for me it was a quick drink (and a handshake with the hosts) then up to a room and my laptop for the edit (with mighty Oxford United at West Ham in the other ear).

Edit done, I still had to make the transfer to Sunderland where I was staying the night.  I wasn’t really fussed about not staying at Rockliffe, an early start at Stadium of Light meant that it was best making the trek in the evening.  I wasn’t really fussed, that is, until I arrived at the Travelodge Sunderland Central.  Let me get one thing straight; I am no snob, I’ve been lucky enough to kip in some great hotels and some dives in my time, but I wasn’t really prepared for this particular culture shock.  Maybe it was the fact that they’d lost my booking, maybe it was because the duty manager clearly didn’t want to leave her McDonald’s long enough to find me a new room, maybe it was the tempting ‘breakfast in a bag’ they were offering for £4.50, but I’m not going to be recommending this particular establishment in a hurry and I don’t think it’ll be on the list of FIFA approved hotels either (although that decision is out of my hands).  Because I try to embrace digital culture, I did check in on FourSquare, but decided against telling anyone about it.  I even added a tip (Don’t stay here).

At the end of the day, and a long one at that, a bed is a bed, even if it backs onto a window which backs onto a drunk bloke ranting and ripping up street furniture at midnight.