Category Archives: Student Television

The Arrest

A while ago I posted a picture of my kitchen covered in highlighter pen and UV ink without any explanation, I just asked you to be patient with me. Well today I shall explain. We we’re filming the intro sequence for a two-part series for StagTV in which my mate Mike Frazer gets arrested by Surrey Police and spend the night in a cell. The whole thing was arranged with the police to raise awareness amongst students of the repercussions of excessive drinking. It took an age in post-production, but it’s finally released for all you lovelies to enjoy!

Only Flirt in FLIRT!

Flirt! is the name of a brand associated with Friday night events held in 20 student unions throughout the UK. It started life at the University of Surrey, before growing out into other student unions. Last October when lots of freshers joined StagTV (the University of Surrey’s Student Television Station) everyone was split into groups and asked to make a short video about a given topic. I was the mentor for a group with three other people and our topic was Flirt nights.

Not wanting to go down the traditional StagTV route of a boring presenter-led news-style short, we did something different… and far more ambitious. We came up with dozens of ideas and eventually whittled it down to 13 we wanted to film. Then during the filming process some more ideas got canned and we ended up with the product you see now. It’s amazing how much the music adds to the whole piece! I think my next project will involve considering suitable music for a scene before even going to film to give the actors and the rest of the team a clearer idea of the emotion we’re trying to convey to the audience.

And what will my next video project be? Well it’s already begun, but it is rather ambitious… and that’s all I want to say about it for now. I do want to make the next project far more open with you guys and give you an insight into the production as it happens in a sort of behind-the-scenes kind of way.

Ze NSS

I’m going to hand the description over to Adam Hurd, the brainchild of this sketch:

“Three years ago I helped kidnap a man and interrogated him in a room beneath the girls bogs at Surrey Students Union. I did it because I was asked to make a light hearted video encouraging students to do something amazingly boring. Now, for the first time, you can enjoy watching a 4 minute short that not one, not two, but three generations of Student Media didn’t want to use: some because it wasn’t their cup of tea, others more bafflingly because it wasn’t shot in HD. Most likely you had to be there to enjoy this – but huge thanks to everyone who was involved and especially Charles Gray for taking the time to edit it together.”

Housing Awareness Week 2013

I haven’t had the time to produce an in-depth StagTV series for a very long time because of other major commitments like my placement year, dissertation, graduation and, now, PhD. But in the last few months I’ve tried to be more involved in StagTV, not just as an afterthought editor, but as a series producer and presenter.

Housing Awareness Week is an initiative the University of Surrey runs every year at the start of February to help first year students find their first house. I remember in my first year being so stressed about finding a house that I now want to help other students out by answering the questions I had going through what they’re now going through. When I was technical producer of MADTV in my second year I helped with the production of a three-part series about finding a house to coincide with Housing Awareness Week at the same time. The video was a success, but because of the VERY small team available at the time (during the exam period), I didn’t feel like it reached it’s full potential. And that has always bugged me. So this year I plan to fill that chip in my shoulder by bringing the series bang-up-to-date with the current information and advice available.

It’ll probably end up being a two-part series, with part one released today (the week before Housing Awareness Week) and the last part during Housing Awareness Week next Wednesday.

More presenting

So it turns out I’ve done more presenting than I originally thought over the last 18 months. My mind must subconsciously eradicates these traumatic moments from my memory to allow me to lead a normal life without fear of being judged by the rest of society.

Five news-related appearances. One talking to drunk people. A society Get Involved. And even one where I’m being interviewed (probably doesn’t count, but never mind).

You can see the full list and watch all the one’s you missed in this YouTube Playlist.

My next appearance is as an extra in a short sketch promoting Friday nights out in the student union, which should be coming out very soon!

StagTV Snowbite

Presented a snow-related news broadcast for StagTV this evening. A perfect example of how you can put a video together from inception to release in less than 3 hours. It’s only my fourth time presenting too, and yet I already feel much more comfortable in front of the camera than a year ago.

All the snow footage was filmed using the professional Sony EX3 camera, which I have on loan for a few months to help with my PhD research. It’s a very good camera to use, but maybe snow wasn’t the best subject for a training exercise as white balance is all over the place… I’ll get there!

Producing videos with StagTV

Since the University of Surrey’s Student Television Station re-brand over the summer from MADTV to StagTV, I have been involved in various projects.

Firstly, we had a major project to inform new students about everything they would need to know about the university, Guildford, societies and moving in. It was a big effort, with planning starting way back in March with me as the Producer, but as production began I got less involved due to my work commitments (and month away in California!) Nevertheless, I was still able to get my hands dirty by editing a video about chilling on campus and another about the Surrey Sports Park. It’s always weird editing work that someone else has filmed, but since these videos were well laid out with plenty of extra library footage to fill them with, I managed to get something I was happy with. I also featured as a student giving tips to freshers in this video… still makes me cringe.

Once the year had begun and new blood had joined the team, I was made producer of a new series we’re calling Get Involved (GI). The basic premise is to have a presenter try out a sport or society that is active on campus and get an insight into what people can expect if they decide to get involved themselves. As a pilot I presented and edited a GI about the Mountaineering Club, since I used to be a member a couple years ago. You can watch the result above. Since then there have been two further Get Involved episodes, one of which I also directed and edited about the Music and Drama society. There are four more GI’s in the pipeline for release early next year, and I’m aiming to make the videos more presenter-led and less video-to-music focused. If you have any comments about any of these videos then I’d love to hear them.

I’ve also just finished work on a short sketch/advert that is very different to the factual documentary/news style shows I’m used to producing… so watch out for that in the coming weeks.