Bizarre Task of the Day 29th Jan 2009
When Gillian from Nesta asked me to take part in a spot of filming for a new Nesta / Starter for 6 promotion video, I told her my agent would check my media schedule and get back to her. Thankfully, UKStyle were booked for tomorrow, not today, so we managed to go ahead.
After hours of pre-recording prep, (which generally involved eating a banana and making some coffee) there was a knock at the door... The film crew had arrived. I opened the door, expecting a pack of eager little media bunnies; cameramen, a sound guy with one of those fluffy hot dogs on a stick, someone bossy with a clipboard and the obligatory work experience guy whose sole mission in life was to get the Starbucks. But to my surprise, there on the doorstop, was just Gillian. Well not just Gillian, Gillian in a very nice scarf, (I believe it may been a Kirby creation), holding a big yellow briefcase - the type a BT engineer brings round when the phone line is dead or that your dad has his prized Black and Decker 3 in 1 drill in.
So what was in this yellow briefcase of tricks? A pop-up camera crew? A film man of Borrower-type proportions? Well kind of, the big yellow case was a VOXUR, a film studio in a box as they say on their website.
Admittedly, it looked like a laptop in a box, something which Bond might whip out the boot of his Austin Martin then detonate a bomb in the Russian embassy with. Gillian fired up the VOXUR, which has some nifty programming which means you go straight into the recording software then said she'd be back in an hour and left me to it. You type in your name, then Gillian pops up on the screen and asks you a question. After the question, there's a short pause to gather your thoughts, then you hit record and it records your 60 second answer through the wee camera in the top of the laptop (you know, the one Photobooth uses to make those hilarious, ‘I'm an alien' mug shots).
I set the James Bond film crew up on my desk and went for it. 20 questions later and I was all done. It was a bit weird answering them by myself, to a machine, but I could view my answers and go back and redo them if I messed-up. I was a wee bit concerned it might save my abandoned first attempts, so there would be a nice series of clips of me getting tongue tied, swearing, looking blank or sneezing, but I'm assured a bloopers show reel is not part of the service. Lets hope not, my granny would be so disappointed.
My only criticism might be that the lighting wasn't the best and that the screen didn't update in real time, so it was tricky knowing if I was leaning out the frame etc. It just showed you a static image all the way through the filming of a clip. It would have been more user friendly if it showed you on the screen, as you were filming, a bit like the way those new Photo booths show you how you are looking before it takes your passport picture. Nobody likes a daft passport picture.
So that was my bizarre task of the day, with an equally bizarre piece of kit. I'm off to make a cuppa in my kettle, which is now disguised as an encyclopaedia...
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