Friday, 13 November 2009

Current Affairs in Reunion Island

Being on a low-budget-current-affair-one-week shoot on the Island of Reunion can be a challenge. I had to produce 7 news feeds for the World Waveski Tour single-handed in just over a week. The biggest challenge with news is to not compromise on quality of pictures, but to know when to stop so that you do not fall behind. My goal was to bring across a very positive impression of the tour, waves and Island in the bulletins. It’s my responsibility as director to put the dream of the tour into the audience’s hearts and make the sponsors look awesome.

In my opinion, it’s incredible difficult to run a business in Reunion. The term COOL is the problem. COOL in French means that you do not care, are never in a hurry, never on time and do not stress about anything. COOL means that you just earn enough to live, you work for the town or government (since it’s safe) and the topic ‘money’ is rude and something that never gets discussed. All of the above is not what I stand for and therefore I believe I qualify as being completely uncool.

The not falling behind thing is almost impossible due to the fact that internet on the Island is scarce and slow. To upload a web cast of 50 mega-bytes takes anything between one to two hours. That is while the connection lasts. We were also hit by a massive rainstorm. Probably the heaviest downpour I have ever seen. The locals were not really moved by it and for them it was pretty average. Six hours without being connected can really put a spanner in the works.

I wish the budget allowed us to do the mobile studio filming with some lights. I ended bouncing the sunlight from my golden reflector into the studio and as long as there were clear skies, it did the job just fine. No back light unfortunately, but a beautiful golden glow. Ever since I started traveling with my microphone boom pole I believe I have added nice subtle production value to my web casts. The down side to the boom pole setup is that I need more man power, but now there are no more unnecessary microphones in the shot and the M66’s audio is just perfect.

I put in an extra effort to track down some epic musicians for the edits. Music is just as vital to a good edit as story and pictures. Sometimes I believe more than 50 % of the edits go down to the soundtrack. It really has to be a complete package from story to picture to sound. Being the producer I am the one with the vision of what I want to achieve with the production. How the music and the pictures will set a mood and feeling to the event. At the end of the day I need to be happy with the edit and once that happens the chance is pretty good that the audience will also be satisfied.

Check out the news feeds on