Archive for radio

The Radio Quiz Show – Reflection 4

Posted in University Work (Old) with tags , , on November 22, 2010 by Adam Broome

In the final week of the show, we confirmed our roles – Kayleigh would be a guest, and Lydia would be the recording operator. Faye would be our other guest, and only needing two guests, the roles were complete. Everything was set for Tuesday, and we had the studio booked out. Not wanting to land anybody in it, but one member turned up on the day with a terrible hangover. Luckily, she managed to fight through it, and after three successful run-through attempts, we decided we had enough to edit in the suites and make a high-standard final piece. However, this is where it all went wrong.

We uploaded the files to a USB stick, and in the process got talking with some light-hearted conversation. We were all busy for the rest of the week, eventually managing to meet up Friday to do some editing, but only to find the editing suites were fully booked. Come Monday, disaster struck – the USB drive was found to be empty, leaving no trace of any such radio recordings. Upon investigation, a Journalism hand-in day called ‘News Day’ had taken place after our show, and had erased all our saved data, meaning our final recordings were now lost. At this point, with the deadline less than 24 hours away, I apparently had a cool head and managed to treat the situation in a rather calm manner (as referred to by fellow teammates). There wasn’t much to it really – we had nothing to hand in, and the chances of a re-recording were second to none.

But then, suddenly, the recordings appeared as if by magic back on the USB port. We rushed an edit together, deciding that a rubbish version is better than no version at all. The editing was not done by myself. The two that did do it did I good job overall – the final piece had only one glaring error, and that was my fault of not turning up the gain on Faye’s voice (which was quieter compared to Kayleigh’s). That was fine by me – being the producer of this artefact, I was quite happy to go ‘down with the ship’ as it were. Given the hassle of the day previous, the fact it turned out as well as it did with only an error in the gain to me means we were pretty darn lucky!

On Tuesday we presented our shows. I acknowledged my error with the gains, but we did recite the events of the trouble with the editing. Two lessons can be learned:

1. Never talk when uploading things – pay attention right to the end.

2. Technology will never be 100% reliable.

As for reflecting upon the final artefact, gain issues aside I can’t really fault it. Kate stumbles several times as the host, but we left these in for added realism (and that was a genuine intention – not just because of our limited time window). The sounds were used well, and my fading in and out skills were pretty good. We were told that some background music could have been used to differentiate the rounds of the game from the ‘talking’ sections of the show, which I agree would have worked well (perhaps beds of some kind could have been used). We were told that the questions could have been music-related, given that the title ‘Sixty Second Song’ implies a music-related quiz show. We were also told that a sound could have been inserted for each correct or incorrect answer – I beg to differ however. Given the speed of the answers, these noises could quickly become repetitive and annoying to the listener. Final feedback considered that Kate needed more interaction with the guests. This would be nice, but given that we tried to fit a whole show into seven minutes, things were always going to be a bit tight.

So no, overall, I’m going to call this one a success (which is good considering this was my first producer role). We have created a media format that could work on TV, or on radio. The rules are simple and easy to understand, it is easily repeatable, and it’s cheap to make. I really liked our format – what’s better, I believe it’s my own brainchild, so all the more to obsess over my own work (never have before – I believe I deserve a bit of self-indulgence!). For better or for worse, here is the link:

The Radio Quiz Show – Reflection 3

Posted in University Work (Old) with tags , , on November 2, 2010 by Adam Broome

Week 3 has passed, and our show is finally starting to take shape. We created a running order relatively fast, but realised that scripting the actual show would be difficult, as the host (Kate) would largely be interacting with the contestants, who would not be operating off a script. I was the producer, and Kate was the host. Originally, we had Lydia and Kayleigh as Team Captains, but given the short timings within the show, we realised the idea would not work, as they would not have enough airtime to be relevant to the show. The running order we scripted looks as follows:

Presenter (me) Introduces The Show – 10 seconds

Host (Kate) Introduces Show + Contestants + Explains The Rules – 90 seconds

First Round Intro – 10 seconds

Round 1 – 60 seconds

Second Round Intro – 15 seconds

Round 2 – 60 seconds

Announce Winner / Commiserations To Loser – 30 seconds

Round 3 Intro – 10-20 seconds

Round 3 – (unknown – depends on how many questions were accurately answered)

Answer Correct Or Not – 10 seconds

Ending – 30-45 seconds

Maximum Total Running Time – 5 minutes 50 seconds

This running order is good, because if anything goes wrong or overrun, we have a one minute ‘safety gap’. With Kayleigh and Lydia left with nothing to do, Kayleigh decided she would be a contestant instead. We already had two confirmed contestants already, but it is always good to have spare contestants. We were advised by our lecturers, however, that it would be easier to change the questions rather than the contestants. At some point this week, we will need to finalise these issues.

Whilst on the subject of questions, we each created ten questions each, giving us forty questions for the show, which averages out at twenty questions for each minute for each contestant. However, if we need backup questions as well, we should get another ten more each, just in case.

We met up one Thursday, having booked the radio studio out. Together, we conducted several run-through attempts. This was when we realised the ‘team captain’ idea didn’t work. This was also where we penned the above running order – I thought it best to pen it during this time for added ‘accuracy’. With everything else done, we realised we were missing one final, vital part of our show – the sound effects.

Earlier today, we created a ‘ticking’ sound to play at the end of the questions rounds (1 and 2), so the contestants know when their time is running out. This adds pressure, and hopefully tension, humour and added character. At the end of the ticking sound, we used Adobe Audition to merge an alarm sound at the end, so we have an alert that clearly states the end of that round (even if a question has been half asked, the round ends at the alarm indefinitely). We have another practice run booked for this Thursday, where we will have final run-through attempts with the sound, the running order, and what scripts we have. As producer, I feel confident in the project. As with most media artefacts, I believe that 70% of the success depends on the idea, and I believe we have a strong idea, and thus (providing we stick to the running order and don’t get sidetracked), we can’t go far wrong!

Some pictures from practice in the studio

The Radio Quiz Show – Reflection 2

Posted in University Work (Old) with tags , , on October 21, 2010 by Adam Broome

This week, the thoughts have turned away slightly from research, and have become more focused about what our show will actually be about. We got together as a group, and stormed several ideas. Our advise was to be as random as we wanted, so that originality could manifest itself.

One idea that came out was the idea of answering questions before a toilet flush noise stopped sounding. However, this meant that our show would effectively be set in a toilet cubicle, which just made the quiz seem cheap and nasty. We knew we wanted a student-audience, and toilets just didn’t fit the bill.

However, I then came up with an even better idea for a game show. The game show would be devised into two rounds, and would revolve around people answering questions in order to increase playing time of a mystery song. The more questions that get answered correctly, the more of the mystery song they’d get to hear. Guessing the song would mean you were in the winner. After talks with fellow crew members, the idea was altered slightly so that now there will be two contestants. In the first round, each contestant will have one minute to answer as many questions correctly as possible. Each right answer gives two seconds more of the mystery song (five seconds makes the game just too easy). The one with the most correct answers goes through, the one with the least is out.

At this point, the winner then gets played the mystery song, but only to the time of how many answers they got correct. For example, if ten questions were answered correctly, you would have twenty seconds of the mystery song played to help you get the answer. The questions are general knowledge, and we decided to make ten questions up each, and meet back next week to discuss which ones we’ll use. Here’s my pop:

1. What is the furthest planet from the Sun? (A: Neptune)

2. What is 12 x 11? (A: 132)

3. What is the fastest land animal in terms of mph? (A: Cheetah)

4. What year did the Titanic sink? (A: 1912)

5. What is the name of the current actor who plays Doctor Who? (A: Matt Smith)

6. In chemistry, what does the symbol ‘C’ stand for? (A: Carbon)

7. What is the capital of Thailand? (A: Bangkok)

8. Who starred in the title role of the 1998 film Saving Private Ryan? (A: Matt Damon)

9. What was the name of the infamous christmas number one song of 2009? (A: Killing In The Name)

10. In gaming, what is the name of Super Mario’s brother? (A: Luigi)

Each correct answer gives an extra two seconds to the clock. There is no limit to how many questions get asked – the only limitation is that you have one minute to answer as many as you can (this being a desirable time limit, as evidenced in the radio show Just A Minute, which we investigated earlier in the week).

I think this is a good format. It is cheap to make because it revolves heavily around simple audience interaction. Sounds and music used in the show are minimal, and all that needs to change are the questions and the contestants, and the show can be repeated over and over again. The questions should in theory make the game playable to audiences at home, and the typical chit-chat featured, although not entirely original, is another way of bringing the audience into a comfortable environment. I’m not sure how this would look on TV, but I can certainly think of a few radio shows this would be suitable for. We have, however, been asked not to include any fictitious radio names in our final broadcast.

Also this week, we had a look at the newer radio studio. We prefer the one we visited in the first week, because it had a ‘warmer fell’ to it. For myself, as the producer of this artefact, the fact that the technology is older should also go in my favour (as it an teach me fundamental elements of radio mixing desks). One of the things I need to progress on this term is my technical ability, particularly with audio. In relation to this, the older studio looks very beneficial – although the newer one is very fancy, my mind boggles at the idea of using it professionally in two weeks time. Various teammates are away this week, but next week, I intend to make sure we start using our selected studio and get to grips with our running order, our script, and most importantly for myself, getting properly acquainted with the mixing desk.

The Ingredients Of A Successful Quiz Format?

Posted in University Work (Old) with tags , , , , on October 16, 2010 by Adam Broome

As a collective, the whole lecture theatre was asked to watch a video on youtube and analyse what makes a good quiz show format. The video was that of the first winner of the American version ‘Deal Or No Deal’ (see below). Typically exaggerated and over-the-top, the clip showed a female contestant winning the one million pound prize in the last few minutes of the show.

‘All very well’ you may think, yet it did indeed captivate an entire theatre full of students the other day, and there can be several reasons why:

1. The show focuses on the contestants. Contestants are opened up to the public, perhaps so the public can empathize with the players, or maybe so that the audience feel like they know the player better. Why is that important, you ask? Because if you know enough about them, then you care about whether or not they win or not! (In your mind, do they deserve to win?) A better example of this – The Weakest Link.

2. The host stalls the game. Period. If the answer to an important question needs to be told, the host will deliberately hold back. This has little to do with running orders, but everything to do with suspense. The tension adds to the enjoyability for the audience. The host takes control of the show, and retains control, only occasionally allowing the contestants to talk about themselves. He keeps control by the use of when to ask the questions and reveal the answers. A better example of this – Who Wants To Be A Millionaire.

3. Live audience adds atmosphere. Strange though it is, it’s hard to imagine a quiz show without a live audience. What do they do? They clap too much, and they laugh at jokes that usually just aren’t that funny. But what they can add is a little drama to an already dramatic situation. The live audience – particularly in the clip in question, act like sheep. The more agitated the contestant gets, the crazier the crowd goes. From a psychological perspective, it almost seems cruel. However, when you think about it, how dull would a show be if one person won a million pounds, and it was just them and the host jumping up and down in confetti to a background track? Clapping, booing, hissing, laughing and so on all adds to the theatrical experience. This may also help to immerse the viewer in the show, by placing them within such an audience.

I think they’re probably the three main points. Thinking about it, if we have interesting contestants, charismatic hosts, and atmosphere, our show can’t go far wrong. Alongside this task, I decided to investigate a little into QI and Never Mind The Buzzcocks. For those not in the know, QI is a general quiz show featuring a variety of topics – Never Mind The Buzzcocks is similar in vein, but based around music, both past and present.

Both shows rely heavily on chatter – whereas Deal Or No Deal revolves around the communication between the host and the victim – sorry, the contestant, QI and ‘Buzzcocks’ revolves around the communication between the host and the contestants BUT the contestants are celebrities (usually comedians, to add humour to the fray). Deal Or No Deal is based entirely around the game, but QI and Buzzcocks is focused more on the enjoyment of banter, with the end results of the game show playing second fiddle to the jokes. Since my group’s show is aiming to be like this, these two shows seemed logical choices to examine.

Further to the above points, we will need an enthusiastic presenter. Being the producer of this show, that puts me firmly at the end of the microphone around this area. I will be hosting the radio show, and will probably have a say in the running of the quiz itself. Just as well really, since I will DJ-ing my very own show on Source Radio some time in the near future.

We will need interesting contestants – the easiest way for us to do this will be to fake contestants and script something unusual. If we want authenticity, we could bring in people off the street just to see how we handle it (probably via the phones), but that has all sorts of problems…

Finally, atmosphere will be the hardest thing to get. We have no live audience, and even when I figure out the ‘cart’ properly, recording a live audience or getting a clip of one may prove difficult. Alternatively, if we get the first two points right, we may not need all the clapping and laughter and ‘shebang’ anyway. It will all be down to experimentation in the future weeks – at this point, we have done very little.

The Radio Quiz Show – Reflection 1

Posted in University Work (Old) with tags , on October 12, 2010 by Adam Broome

Today was the first day of 262MC Formats Production. For the first half of the term, I will be working with three fellow classmates on a radio show that will follow the format of a quiz show. For the second half, a much larger group of us will film a TV show, also in a quiz show format. Today’s workshops involved us going to the radio studios on our campus and experimenting with the equipment. By random poll, I was voted the producer of my team, which is a fair amount of responsibility given my previous… err, exploits on the final module last year.

However, after being shown around one radio studio, I must say I felt quite at home. Of course, this module is going to be a valuable experience with regards my application at Source Radio, which is occurring at the same time as this task is. I’m glad to say that I felt very enthusiastic about the role I’d been given. The producer will sit at a desk in the ‘gallery’ part of the radio studio, and control a virtual running order, what music gets played, and possibly even present. Although initially uneasy about seeing all the technology presented before me, I was soon getting the hang of things. I feel I am competent to rise to this challenge, and I believe that my reinvigorated passion will no doubt assist with the creation of this artefact.

My skills with sounds have already been commented upon during my personal tutorial last week. Sound editing and audio mixing are areas that I have rather avoided up until this point. I do indeed feel I need to investigate this side of media production – initially I was focusing solely on the visual aspects. It would be a bit embarrassing if I left this course without being able to help a friend re-format a music file, but also I may enjoy audio production rather than visual. How I feel about these aspects will be elaborated on by the end of this module, as I have been designated a camera operator for the TV show production (just as I hoped I would!). Thus, I will focus on audio for the first half, and visual for the second half. I will push myself technically, as well as artistically, and will hopefully get something to showcase in my portfolio, which I realise from the task last week is rather empty at the moment (last year was for the majority a year of media production failures – yet failures that will come to benefit me this year, without a doubt).

The first thing we needed to do was conduct research. We had initial ideas about a talk-show based quiz show format. Basically, an example would be Never Mind The Buzzcocks or QI. Both are in quiz show format, but rather than following simple questions and answers, the show is more about the banter than ensues regarding the questions. If this idea was to work, we would need to make our show humourous. If we needed to make our show genuinely funny, we needed to understand our audience a hundred percent. This led us to deduce that our best bet of creating a funny show would be to aim it at our own generation, possibly even at students themselves.