A hustings discussion was held in the TV studio at the newly built Creative Industries Center at Glyndwr University on 3rd May, two days before the Welsh Assembly’s election. The discussion among the declared constituency candidates from the four main political parties has become the first TV programme recorded in the studio. I went there as part of the audience to pitch my questions to the candidates but also to interview them after the recording with another student on the facilities and recording of the studio.
It was the first real studio I visited so I was curious about every part of the recording. Bright lights were on, spotting the stage like daytime while the audience section was dark. Three big cameras were positioned in different directions to capture everything the producer wanted or ordered through the headphones of the three cameramen. The producer was ‘hiding’ on the control room one story above the studio, watching several screens, on which showed pictures transmitted from the cameras in the studio, and from time to time had a glance of the studio through a small window. There were also two big television screens on both sides for the audience to watch. They showed the different angles the cameramen chose to shoot the candidates and the host.
When it came to the questions from the audience part, on cameraman always focused on the stage while the other two were flexibly moving the cameras back and forth between the stage and the audience. I was the first one to pitch questions. Based on Chinese manner, I stood up, which was proved to be a wrong decision as the camera lens had been set along with the height of the seats. So my head was ‘cut off’ by the camera for a few seconds until the cameraman changed the camera level. But I think they should have told us that before the filming so it could have been avoided.
After the recording, we caught up with three of the candidates (the other one “slipped away”) to ask for feedback of the recording experience. Even though it’s more like a PR thing, but we tried to do it more like an interview between a journalist and a politician. As politicians they were happy to do this kind of PR thing to try to get more positive result in the votes. We used an audio recorder but also pen and notebook. It turned to be a good idea to have jotted down some quotes because part of the audio was covered by the background noise.
One of the candidates was a journalist before, and he even gave us tips of journalist as a career.
Overall, it was a great experience.