Watford Football Club films new season of programme at Bucks

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Date: 25th Oct 2017

Watford Football Club has filmed the first in a new season of the Hornet Show with students and staff in the School of Arts & Creative Industries at Buckinghamshire New University.

Former player Tommy Smith joined presenters Jon Marks and Emma Saunders and regular guest, and ex-Watford player Derek Payne, for the monthly programme, which is broadcast on the club's website and filmed using a Virtual Reality (VR) set.

The 2017/2018 season marks the sixth year Watford has filmed the show at Bucks New University and Senior lecturer Rob Kelly said a new season has brought innovations for the programme.

He said: “We have set up an experiment using a keyed player walk-in effect with two presenters commenting about his recent performance to try to make the show better resemble broadcast sports programmes that you might see on the BBC or Sky.

"It works by using use green screen player footage shot at Watford and superimposing it into our set, with the presenters commenting about that player's recent performance.

Students studying BA (Hons) Film and Television ProductionAudio and Music Production; and Animation and Visual Effects work on the Hornet Show, which is filmed on a green screen background in the University's Gateway building and also using an outside broadcasting unit belonging to the University.

The virtual set used as the backdrop for the show has been designed by Animation and Visual Effects students and Audio and Music Production students manage the audio for the interviews, and sound design. The Film and Television Production students involved are studying a sports and live events production pathway in their degrees.

Speaking about how the programme works, Mr Kelly said: “We only have a limited amount of time in the studio and with our Watford guests so all the crew feel the pressure.

“This is good because it reflects the issues our students will experience in the TV industry after they have graduated.

“TV can be a pressurised environment and as-live productions like this help to train our students to deal with the pressures in a controlled way. There are always specialised lecturers and technical staff to help resolve problems when needed, effectively a safety net.

“Above and beyond all the many technical issues our sports and live events students need to deal with (green screen set-up, green screen lighting, motion capture, camera calibration, live compositing, health and safety planning, and risk assessment, among others) they also need to fully understand studio etiquette.

“Studio etiquette is a complex set of ways of organising shoot planning, crew organisation, client organisation, diplomacy and problem-solving. A successful shoot requires all the technical and planning details to be executed effectively, otherwise it’s very easy for a shoot to fall apart, which is why the lecturers and technical staff are there to oversee how the students resolve these issues.”

Mr Kelly said students were seeing the benefits of opportunities to work with industry partners.

He added: “What the Bucks New University lecturers find really interesting is that our students love the challenges we set them. They really want to embrace the challenges they are set and really step up to the plate.

“We can see them absorbing the tasks they are set and overcoming them literally before our eyes.

“When they finish the productions they appear to be significantly more accomplished than when they started. It’s very rewarding for those who teach them to become fully-fledged TV professionals.”

Richard Walker, Head of Communications at Watford Football Club, said: "Watford is delighted to continue its official partnership with Bucks New University.

“It’s to the credit of students and tutors alike that the continued production of high-quality output can be enjoyed by our supporters.

“The enthusiasm and innovation of those at Bucks New University means there’s always something new up for discussion and this makes for a healthy and fruitful relationship for both parties.”

Bucks New University has a formal partnership with Watford FC and plaques reflecting this can be seen at its ground at Vicarage Road, Watford, and at Bucks New University, in High Wycombe.

Picture captions: (Top to bottom) Students with presenters and ex-players at the latest filming; a student behind the programme; how the Hornet Show appears.

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