Media Parents Series Producer Gaby Koppel has made a series of Rip Off Britain during lockdown (to read more click here). Here are Gaby and her team’s tips for producing remotely.
8 tips for producing TV remotely, by Gaby Koppel
- The daily Zoom team meeting is the most important moment of the day. It’s your chance to see everybody, gauge the mood, make sure they are doing OK and do something about it if they aren’t. If somebody’s not contributing much, maybe they are struggling.
- However important the Zoom meeting is, don’t let it drag on too long. Short and sharp is better.
- Don’t just talk about work – even if you are busy, find some space in the day to chat, use Whatsapp for some fun not just business. Part of what helps to lighten the atmosphere in the office are conversations about what was on telly last night and the all-important office gossip. Try to create some water cooler moments.
- It’s toughest for the juniors and newbies, and we needed to work hard to keep their spirits up. When I was new in the industry I learnt by osmosis from overhearing more senior people speaking on the phone or between each other. You can never replicate that, so make sure that somebody on the team is keeping a careful eye on them.
- Home schooling: I could see what a struggle it was for parents with school age children. They’d apologise about have to take time out in the middle of the day, and you could tell from the time stamp on their emails that they were making it up at silly o’clock. Huge credit to them for their dedication to both family and work.
- You can produce remotely at a pinch, but edit producing is a whole other ball game. It meant that instead of watching a cut with an editor you’d have to wait for them to send over the whole thing when it would have been so much faster to whizz through a cut side by side to make sure all changes had been applied before it was due to go to an exec. It wasn’t possible to spin through archive quickly, or to riffle through a selection of music options – often they’d be laid in and sent over before you had a chance to say ‘Nah.’ There are technical solutions on stream now but we worked without them for most of the year. In future I’d say to maximise the gains from a remote edit you need to spend money on any technical solution available from day one. They say if all else fails, try Zoom on the editor’s phone, though I didn’t have to resort to that myself.
- The changing rules of lockdown could feel like standing on quicksand – you are having to react more like a daily production than one which is produced over five months. When that happens and you are changing key bits of commentary or even coming up with new films at short notice it’s best if you can enjoy the ride and relish the taste of adrenaline.
- And finally, on a personal note you need to get out of the house at least once a day or you will go mad. I started running every morning – something I hadn’t done for years.
Gaby Koppel is available now as Series Producer/ Edit Producer: