Saturday, July 31, 2010

Bread, cheese, beer and darts.

I'm thoroughly enjoying my jaunt to Germany following the darts for Bravo.

The darts itself has been exciting - last night there were a couple of first round matches that you wouldn't have expected to see til the later rounds in most formats - but also it's exciting to be involved in the broadcast.

I've done live stuff from time to time but doing live sport is different because the content is constantly changing and decisions about what or won't happen next are taken very quickly and a lot of stuff produced on the fly. That keeps you on your toes.

There was one interview on the first day where I couldn't hear the link in my earpiece so was - presumably - just standing there doing nothing for a few moments.

Then I suddenly heard a lot of noise in my earpiece and assumed (correctly) they were yelling at me... so I started the interview.

But then I spent the rest of the interview feeling paranoid that, having not heard the link in to the interview, I wasn't going to be able to hear them telling me to wind it up either and that somehow threw my microphone technique out of whack as my concentration went elsewhere. Sorry, Terry.

But that was just one interview out of ten or eleven (or more?) that I've done so far and the only one where it's been an issue so I'll take that as good odds on the steep learning curve involved in doing something new.

By the way, some of the interviews are live while others are on tape and go into the show if the unpredictable schedule allows but all, I think, will end up on the Bravo website.

The biggest - and most obvious - problem on Day 1 was with the scoring.

There was a software issue with the system that puts the score on screen which meant the wrong score - or no score - was there at times. Too many times. This has a knock on effect because it's a reference point for the commentators and for the spotter.

For those who don't know, the spotter is an expert who knows the game inside out and backwards and tells the director where he thinks the player is going to aim next.

But if he can't see the score, he doesn't necessarily know whether the player is on to a double yet and that makes it impossible for him to call properly making the camerawork look worse than it ought to be.

Luckily for us we have Eric Bristow spotting. He's amazing and it's largely down to his quick thinking that the shots of the game were decent on what could have been a disastrous first day.

As it goes it seems to have been quite well received and the software was kicked around overnight and the problem sorted out. I think the graphics were all pretty smooth on the second day. As a result, everything seemed to run a bit more smoothly.

It gets incredibly busy from here on in... with afternoon and evening sessions through today and tomorrow. Your tweets with comments and questions for the players etc. have been really interesting and useful for the show - so thanks for that.

The loveliest comments have been from people saying that they haven't watched darts before but that they've given it a go and really enjoyed it. That's ace. Of course it's not for everyone... but it does get very dramatic and what they're doing on the stage is ridiculously difficult and hugely impressive as a result.

A lot of my input is filmed in the player's lounge. There's a practice board in there which largely goes unused because there's also a practice room with four boards in it... so I've whiled away some time throwing my own darts every now and then. Ridiculously, I hit a 140 with my first three arrows. My cameraman saw it happen. I wish I'd left it at that and not thrown anymore. He'd have thought I was actually good. It's too late now, he knows the truth. (I did beat him at round-the-clock yesterday though).

Not the easiest place for a non-meat eater, this. I've largely survived on bread and cheese so far. I've bought fruit, though. Vegetables? They can wait.

Oh... by the way... because I'm over here, we won't be doing the radio show this Sunday. But we have made a mini-podcast to fill the gap so I'm sure that'll go up some time on Sunday or Monday.

1 comment:

Scottish Nature Boy said...

Live broadcasting, dontcha love it Dave? Sounds exciting! Oh, and some lime juice should help you avoid scurvy...