Doing the Technical Director Gig
I don’t really know what I’m going to do with Studio Technician certifications, but I’ve been spending my Tuesday evenings over at the MCM studios taking classes. Ive worked four positions so far and tonight is switcher and camera on a real show, getting tested. The really fun one is switcher, aka Technical Director, which I’m waiting to do in about a half hour.
You sit in front of this really complicated board with all kinds of lighted buttons. Each one represents a video source. You are called the switcher because it’s your job to switch sources during the show according to the director’s instructions. So, when you get a call to standby on camera two, you need to have camera two ready on the standby screen. When she calls to take camera two, you have a cut button that swaps instantly between the standby selection and the live selection. Mix also swaps, but is more of a dissolving fade between them as they swap.
It gets going pretty fast sometimes, especially if the director is trying to find a spot to add in the downstream, which is often stuff like the lower third, the bits like a person’s name and title.
This role was particularly helpful in getting to know all the parts you need as a producer – enough so I have recommended that they add a turn on switcher to the producer class. It was tempting to only get certified on this one role so I won’t have any chance of ending up on something I like less.
Thinking of learning this stuff? I say yes, it’s good times indeed.